Making Curriculum Pop

I am teaching a high school modern technology class and I been given a lot of flexibility with what topics I can cover.  I'm curious as to whether any of you has ever taught a unit on video game design.  Just wondering if anyone might have any suggestions regarding accessible and cheap (or better yet, free!) software for beginning game designers....any and all ideas are greatly appreciated!

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I have use Game Maker in a programming class for middle school.  It works well for teaching the concepts and vocabulary of video game creation.  Moreover, it allows students to experiment with the logic of designing a game with trial and error attempts.  It reminds me of the thrill I had back in my middle school years (1986-88)designing simple low res game is BASIC on my Apple IIe.  The difference is that the output, now, is much more entertaining.  Give it a look:

The standard version is free. is another good option you might consider.  It is a more robust teaching tool than gamemaker, but the entertainment value is not quite as high.  I found it to be an enjoyable way to teach programming that engages the students.  It is also worth a look.  Again, the cost is nothing to download and use.

Here's a good list of game creation tools:


Hi Melissa, you might also cross post this question in the Gaming group - they are hard core! And you should reach out to MC POPPER (and local) Kelly Farrow - she just started a really cool video gaming club with her elementary kids. Tell her you know me and stop in to meet with her - it will be one of the best things you've ever done - trust me on that one.  See this post that gives you a hint about her really brilliant work - EVENT: Students Involved with Technology conference

This past semester I started a video game creation club for elem. kids, and it was a HUGE success! We had such a blast, and the kids begged me to continue it this semester b/c they enjoyed it so much. We used Scholastic's Gamestar Mechanic curriculum for grades 4-8, and they also have a curriculum called Activate for grades 9-12. It's free, unless you want to get the premium account. Scholastic had everything all lined up for you as a teacher; it couldn't have been easier to run as a club or class. And when I had Q's and needed to talk to someone on their staff, they were super responsive and helpful. Here's a link to info on both curricula:

Thank you all so much for your suggestions!  This gives me something to work with...your help is much appreciated.



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