Five 8th graders from the Coding and Game Design class - Gabby A., Katelyn B., Ella S., Xochitl M., and Riya D. - presented their project at the 2018 Computer Using Educators (CUE) Conference in Palm Springs. The Westridge team made up one of only a dozen teams selected to present at the Student Powered Showcase. The theme for the showcase was “Maker Projects,” which was perfect for their interactive game board project entitled “AGENCY: Play and Change the World!”

The students created two game boards focused on raising awareness of homelessness and deforestation. The girls used Scratch, Makey-Makey kits, and Arduino circuit boards connected to a laptop to make the games interactive. They also designed and printed 3D components for their games, including trees and houses.

The students coded the games so that anytime a player lands on an interactive space on the board, the computer activates a pop-up mini-game, quiz, image, or fact about homelessness or deforestation. If the player answers the quiz questions correctly or wins the mini-game, they move forward. The games also use lights and sounds to demonstrate progression in the game; for example, if something happens to harm the forest, the green lights in the trees dimmed, and if someone loses their job and can't pay their bills, lights go out in the houses.

The students were hailed by the selection committee for the novelty of their ideas and their “use of gaming, which is a very engaging and motivational tool.”

Middle School Game Designers Present AGENCY: Play and Change the World! at #CUE2018

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