Playing 4 Keeps

Playing for Keeps' Kick Off 

This Fall, dozens of middle and high schoolers have been transformed into game designers as Global Kids' signature program, Playing for Keeps, ramps up at schools around the city and at GK headquarters.

 

Students at the School for Human Rights in Flatbush, Global Neighborhood Secondary School in East Harlem, and I.S. 109 in East Flatbush have been taking a deep dive into the core elements of a game -- creating their own games from found objects, hacking classics like Tic-Tac-Toe and Rock Paper Scissors, and designing, iterating and playtesting levels on Gamestar Mechanic software.

 

 

As part of a Department of Education initiative, 19 students at four "Digital Ready" high schools -- Satellite Academy, Hudson High School for Learning Technologies, Academy of Innovative Technologies, and Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School --  will be receiving academic credit for creating serious games about global issues with Citywide P4K and facilitating workshops on game design back at their schools and at other venues.

 

Next steps for these students include creating game design documents to outline how they will integrate a global issue into the core elements of their games.

 

Check out the photos below for the highlights!

 

Sixth graders at GNSS break down the core elements of the game of Tag.

 


Jada presents "Castle Run" a game she and her partners at SHR created out of found objects.

 


A found object game featuring the core mechanic, balancing, presented at SHR.

 

High Schoolers from Digital Ready schools ponder how to add chance to Tic-Tac-Toe.

 

Playing for Keeps - Session 2 

The students of the second Playing for Keeps session walked in and sat down quietly. Most of them did not know each other, but all it took was one question - "So, what games do you all play?" - for them to break out into animated chatter.

 

After the great success of the first Playing for Keeps session, we were excited to welcome the students of the second session - and they did not disappoint. The students came in with new ideas, genuine curiosity, and infectious enthusiasm. Using MIT's game design platform Scratch, the students were able to create some truly creative and entertaining games based on important issues that affect us today. 

 

Hard at work on their games!

 

Of course, to design a game, we had to start at the basics. Like Session 1, we began by challenging the students to creating a representation of a movie out of Legos pieces. This activity helped them start thinking creatively about the characters, story, space, and how to deal with limited resources (in this case, Legos pieces and time). They were able to create some amazing things with just Legos pieces - including a surprisingly realistic clownfish from Finding Nemo, and a whole scene from Monsters, Inc., complete with multiple characters. 

 

Playing for Keeps Session 1 

Students at SIS were joined by middle schoolers from around the city to take part in Global Kids' signature "Playing for Keeps" program. They used MIT's open source video game design software, Scratch, to program and design games about environmental issues ranging from pollution ("Pollution's no Illusion" by Jayme, Julisa and Summit) to habitats (Wildlife Takeback by Robert, Gabriel and Patrick). It was an exhilarating week of hands-on activities that exposed students to the elements of a game and content about population density supplied by NASA. All throughout, students kept blogs documenting their learning.

 

Students completing a Lego Challenge where they have to create an immage based on a story that they were assigned.

 

On the first day of the program, after a warm-up that involved representing movie plots with legos, the students learned to name the core elements of a game by identifying those elements in classic games such as Rock, Paper, Scissors and soccer. They chose specific elements of a game that they wanted to change, and noticed how their jams affected game play. They were also introduced to Scratch and learned basic functions using the Scratch Program.

 

Simulating Inequality - P4K Gamers at Hungercraft 2.0 

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What happens when resources are unequally distributed? Do citizens learn to cooperate and trade? Or is violence inevitable?

 

Those were some of the questions pondered by Global Kids’ Playing For Keeps youth leaders at Hungercraft 2.0, an event at the Main Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Saturday, March 30. Using a special world created by Minecraft Edu inspired by the popular books The Hunger Games, they faced off against the teens in Brooklyn Public Library’s T4 program (Today’s Teens, Tomorrow’s Techies).

Youth-Led STEM Game Design Workshops 

Youth-Led STEM Game Design Workshops

 

This is a guest post by Juan Rubio, Program Associate for the Online Leadership Program at Global Kids.

 

 

Global Kids Youth Leaders

 

As part of the National STEM Video Game Challenge, Global Kids youth leaders in the Playing for Keeps program designed and led game design workshops that will reach over 200 New York City youth at more than ten Hive NYC institutions. They held two different types of sessions. The first showcased game design concepts and introduced participants to gamestarmechanic.com, a game platform designed specifically for learning how to create games. The second workshop taught participants how to pitch their game design ideas to an expert panel of game gurus from E-Line Media and other game design companies like BrainPop.

 

National STEM Video Game Challenge Workshops 

We are excited to announce that a series of workshops for the National STEM Video Game Challenge are launching this Saturday! 

 

The Challenge, launched in 2010, is a multi-year competition that aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America's youth by tapping into students' natural passion for playing and making video games. Middle and high school students across the country are asked to create original video games, individually or as teams, and to submit their games for the opportunity to win important recognition for themselves and their communities. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center and E-Line Media are co-presenters of the STEM Challenge.

 

P4K Citywide Prepares as Youth Facilitators  

 

GK's Playing for Keeps Citywide program is now in its seventh week and a lot has been accomplished so far. Our five returning youth from last year have had the chance to become peer leaders by co-facilitating parts of workshops, helping new students, and brainstorming new activities.

 

In these seven weeks, youth have learned game design terms and concepts, become familiar with Gamestar Mechanic, and have started using Stencyl to design games for the first time. In December, in addition to playing and making games, the group will also transition to learning about how to write and a facilitate workshops. This is because from January to March, they will be leading introductory game design and game critique workshops at various locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx to prepare youth around the city to submit their games to the National STEM Video Game Challenge.

 

There will be a lot to prepare for as these GK Youth Leaders take on the role of facilitators and educators in a new capacity, but they are more than up to the task!

 

MS 391 - Bullying, Gaming and Coding 

Global Kids Leaders at MS 391 have been working hard learning elements of games, basics of coding HTML and discussing social issues. 

 

In our Game Design program students play tested SimSweatshop, a game that puts players in the shoes of factory workers attempting to make sneakers. As time accumulated they saw how their energy levels would quickly deplete, the small amount of money they accumulated, and how their overall quality of life was affected. During our debrief students shared facts about child labor and related it back to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They also discussed the mechanics of the game and whether it got the message across to the players. We continued our talk of games using Gamestar Mechanic's basic element cards. Youth played a matching game to learn game design vocabulary. 

 

Coby, Julio and Anthony matching photos to terms. 

 

Middle Schoolers Learning Gaming and Web Design 

In our third year at the Angelo Patri Middle School MS 391 in the Bronx, we have introduced two new programs into the curriculum.

 

On Mondays we began the Global Kids Playing 4 Keeps program in which students are learning the fundementals of game design and will eventually develop a serious game on a global issue. Our first session had students exploring what makes iconic characters by drawing and presenting some of their own favorites. 

 

GK Leaders Chris and Lexington drawing a character from World of Warcraft.

 

GK Leaders Collins, Jose and Coby present their drawing from Avatar. 

 

GK Leaders Jose and JD present their characters from Super Mario. 

 

Playing for Keeps at Long Island City High School 

Global Kids leaders kicked off the Playing for Keeps program at Long Island City High School last week. They started the program by learning about characters in a game and playing for the first time Gamestar Mechanic.

 

During this first workshop the participants were introduced to the overall goals of the program: to create games about social issues important to them or their community. They began the program by thinking about the role of characters in a game, and started with an activity where they had to draw their favorite character. Then they played a game in which the rest of the group had to guess the character they drew as the drawing was revealed slowly by the presenting group. This led to a discussion about how characters are used in a game, what makes a good character, and the different types of characters such as protagonist and antagonist. 

 

They were a very enthusiastic group who share some of their ideas about creating they own games. Eighteen eager high school students that will use games to express their creative ideas and inform others about a social issue. 

 

Here are some pictures from the first day

 

 

P4K at LIC