Posted Date: 10/31/2022
Eighth graders put arcade games to the test in Amanda Wood’s STEM Technology class at Atlanta Middle School. The students were tasked with designing and coding their own video game.
“They could borrow some ideas from games that were already created, but they had to do the actual coding themselves, and they had to make it their own somehow,” Wood said.
They also had to design the arcade machine and create a system for cable management for their Makey Makey, an invention kit designed to connect everyday objects to computer keys.
During class, the students tested each other’s games and provided feedback for improvements.
“Some of them are struggling more on the code because it’s really complicated once you get into it and start making the different stuff,” eighth grader Parker Braley said. “But, overall, I think everyone has something to show for what they’ve been working on.”
The hands-on learning experience provided the students the opportunity for more critical thinking.
“I like hand-on learning way better,” Braley said. “Instead of just watching a video or someone doing it for you, you actually get to work on it and you get to figure out all the problems and fix your problems.”
Students found the project to be challenging but enjoyed learning by trial and error.
“Some of the challenges are being able to successfully play it and lay out the controls. Controls are a big part of it,” eighth grader Andrew Horsley said. “And then there's the sounds, the coding, there's the moving–all of this. What I enjoyed most is the coding part of it and the error part too. I could discover all the bad things about my game and make it better.”
Being able to do this gave students more confidence in their abilities.
“When I first started this, it looked horrible,” Horsley said. “I didn’t know where it was going, and I was about to give up. However, I decided to stick with it. I decided to move on from there and get better with it.”