Design creative and engaging video games

The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge is an annual competition that aims to prepare students for the future by promoting their skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It is also intended to address the inequality between the representation of male and female students in STEM-related areas.

Registrations for the Challenge 2021 are now possible. Students in grades 5-12 work in teams (of one to four members) with a nominated adult mentor, such as a teacher. Your task is to develop, test and create an original video game that incorporates the chosen theme. This year’s theme is “scale”.

The annual challenge is administered in Australia by the ACER Foundation, a charity of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

ACER Foundation Director Lisa Norris says she looks forward to seeing the imaginative ways different groups are approaching this year’s theme.

“Some schools will approach the issue very literally and directly. Others will be very conceptual. We are always amazed at the creative, engaging and fun way the students react to the topic every year, ”she says.

Scaling is used as a common characteristic in many popular games. “Some games, especially strategy and role-playing games, use scaling to help users navigate their worlds,” says Norris.

“Another common way that scales are used is to allow players to zoom in and out to access more or less detail as needed. The great thing about this challenge is that the students in their groups can decide how they want to incorporate the theme into their game. It really leaves so much to the imagination. ‘

The challenge is aligned with the Australian curriculum in each state and territory, allowing teachers to create a fun and hands-on project in the classroom. There are also resources for teachers that have links to free game development platforms – including a new addition for 2021, MicroStudio.

Registration for the Australian STEM Video Game Challenge 2021 is now open and ends on July 22nd, the submission of the games is due on August 5th and the winners will be announced on September 21st.

The 2020 Challenge was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students have started creating their projects using the same theme of “scale” so that these students are encouraged to move on and finish what they started. This includes the 12th grade of 2020 who are eligible to take part in the 2021 competition.

The challenge organizers are looking for volunteers to rate the competition in 2021. If you love games and want to participate, please register your interest by email

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