National STEM Video Game Challenge Invites Students to Design Their Own Video Games

The National STEM Video Game Challenge—presented by E-Line Media, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, and the Smithsonian—is accepting student submissions of original video games and game designs. The Challenge motivates youths’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning by tapping into their passion for playing and creating video games.

The Challenge is accepting entries from U.S. students in the middle and high school categories: The middle school category is open to students in grades 5 to 8, while the high school category is open to students in grades 9 to 12. Both invite entries for individuals and teams of up to four students, and entries can be created using any game creation platform such as Gamestar Mechanic, Unity, GameMaker, and Scratch or a written game design concept document.

Judges will select winners for each game creation platform in both categories, with each winner receiving a cash prize of $1,000, as well as game design and educational software. Each winner’s sponsoring organization will receive a cash prize of $2000.

The National STEM Video Game Challenge is accepting entries through February 25, 2015. Complete guidelines and details on how to enter are available at

High School Students Launch Toy Company to Raise Funds for Not-For-Profit

FlipNCheckStudents from Stuyvesant High School in New York City have launched their first product, Flip ‘N’ Check, a dry-erase activity book for kids ages 5 and up. The toy is sold in more than 20 stores along the East coast, with all proceeds to be donated to the Teen Entrepreneur Boot Camp (TEBC), a not-for-profit group dedicated to teaching entrepreneurship to teens. This team will be collaborating with the Bronx Zoo for the next version of Flip ‘N’ Check called Zoo Animals.

The idea for the Flip ’N’ Check method was donated to the project by Dr. Howard Wexler, inventor of the game Connect 4, in an effort to fund the program. Flip ‘N’ Check comes in an easy-to-travel format and contains educational puzzles, mazes, connect-the-dots, word searches, crosswords, and more. A demonstration video is available on YouTube.

The students will be documenting their learning experiences on the TEBC blog, which will also feature tips from professionals they have met along the way, and the experiences they have had launching this toy company.