Elementary students are finding that learning the steps of building a video game builds STEM skills, thanks to a program called GameSalad, which has been offered free to schools for one year.
Horn Elementary teacher Alex Jones eagerly accepted the chance to use the program for free during the first year. He said that the school principal requested a focus on coding and activities related to building STEM skills to motivate children to follow a career path in engineering or computer science.
“We have many things that are ready to use, technology wise, to show kids that yea, you’re in elementary but you will have a job waiting for you if you chose STEM,” Jones said. He asked his students to make a choice between Lego Robotics or using GameSalad to create a video game. They made a clear choice to develop a game.
The program already offers a Monster Maze template, which serves as an introduction to building a game. Once the students catch on, students will create their own game.
Jones specifically wants the girls in his class to be motivated and believe that they can follow careers in computer science and engineering.
According to GameSalad CEO Brent Dusing, the aim of the program is to encourage students of all backgrounds to learn computer science, while remaining engaged and having fun. At the same time, they learn STEM skills that are aligned to Texas state standards.
“We ow it to our nation’s children to offer them opportunities to participate in 21st century economy,” Dusing said.