What is the biggest complaint from Ft. Lupton Middle School students about math class? According to math teacher Sean Boyer, students say that it is having to leave when class is over.
Introducing the Scalable Game Design curriculum into their school has accomplished this new enthusiasm for math. Ft. Lupton Middle School in Colorado is one of the schools participating in the Scalable Game Design research project from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The school recently received the National Middle School of the Year Award from the National Association of Middle School Principals. Each school was judged on several criteria for the award, including continuous improvement, achievement gains, running flagship programs, and overall content. Ft. Lupton was the only Colorado school singled out as a finalist for this award and was selected because of the staff’s focus to offer flagship programs that help students overcome the difficulties of middle school transitions.
Participation in the Scalable Game Design project has been one of these key student-focused programs. "AgentSheets and Scalable Game Design played a significant part in the opportunities offered to our students that made this possible!" said Melanie Patterson, Ft. Lupton principal, referring to the AgentSheets software (http://www.agentsheets.com) used by the Scalable Game Design project. Patterson shared the teachers' enthusiasm for the collaboration with CU-Boulder. “When we won National Middle School of the Year, I couldn't help but feel like I played a part in it by teaching Scalable Game Design,” said Darrel Stice, one of the participating math teachers. “My students love designing games and simulations, and it makes me really proud to see them so excited about their learning.”
The Scalable Game Design program aims to increase opportunities for computer science and STEM education in public schools by motivating and teaching students through computer game design and computational science. Students are aquiring computational thinking skills by collaboratively engaged in problem solving, creativity, modeling and communication.
The project is a collaboration between CU-Boulder’s Computer Science Department, the School of Education, the Science Discovery program, and AgentSheets, Inc. Under the direction of Professor Alexander Repenning and assistance from Professors David Webb and Clayton Lewis; AgentSheet’s project manager, Dr. Andri Ioannidou; Ph.D students Kyuhan Koh, Ashok Basawapatna, Vicki Bennett, Krista Marshall, and Ian HerManyHorses; and Science Discovery Instructor Fred Gluck this program has not only reached the students of Ft. Lupton Middle School, but is being used at schools in the Denver-metro area, Pueblo, the Southern Ute Indian Reservation near Ignacio in Southwest Colorado, the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, and Alaska.
For more information about the Scalable Design project visit the program page at http://outreach.colorado.edu/programs/details/id/172.
Learn more about the Scalable Game Design Summer Institute for teachers at http://www.9news.com/news/local/article/202987/222/Teachers-play-video-games-for-science- and http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-news/ci_18218859.
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers No. DLR-0833612 and IIP-0848962. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.