Lesson Resources for Incorporating Student-Created Games

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

BrainPOP’s GameUp features lots of student-made games. Learn how to use student-designed games in your classroom and support students in creating their own games!

Here are some ideas and resources to help you incorporate student-created games into your instruction:

  • Provide time for students to explore games other students have created. BrainPOP’s GameUp has a growing collection of student-made games. Encourage students to explore one or more of the games related to your subject area. Can they identify the skills the game practices? The objective of the game? How do they suppose the game was made?
  • Guide students to reflect on the student-made games they’ve played. They can write or talk about their strategies for winning, make connections to real-world topics and skills, suggest ways to extend the game or improve it, or summarize how to play the game in their own words.
  • Explore the Globaloria resources for student-made games. You’ll find examples of games students have created, videos for students, teachers, and principals about how student-created games have transformed learning, and see photos of students and educators in action as they design games. These can serve as resources for your planning, and help you introduce the idea of students making games to your class, administrators, and/or parents and community members.
  • Teach students the five elements of game design using Gamestar Mechanic. The site offers five lessons for introducing Gamestar Mechanic and game design in general. Students will learn to correctly use terms and concepts to describe aspects of game design, identify and define the five elements of game design, and design balanced games that are both fun and challenging. Students will also play test and effectively give feedback each other’s games, and improve on their games by incorporating feedback. Afterward, they can use Gamestar Mechanic to design and publish their own games!
  • Encourage students to create a game based on an area of their expertise. Students can identify a topic, skill, or concept they know well and design a game that teaches those concepts to other students. The Game Design Toolkit from LGN and FableVision is a free download that explains this process step-by-step. The strategies described in the handbook can be used with a variety of technology tools, including Game Salad, Game Maker, Gamestar Mechanic, and Kodu.
  • Don’t forget about non-digital games! These can be extremely valuable for students, as well. The School Library Journal offers an excellent article called Get Kids Designing with Student-Created Games: The Gaming Life. In it, Brian Mayer outlines two distinct game design programs and how they can be used in the classroom.

Have your students created their own games? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments!