The National STEM Video Game Challenge Motivates Learning through Game Development

President Obama’s Educate to Innovate Campaign inspired the annual STEM Video Game Challenge for students in 5th-8th grade. The program was created to get middle school students excited about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through the challenge of designing an original video game.

Bailey Sperling was one of 12 winners who recently took home a laptop, $2,000 for her school, and a letter of congratulations from the White House for her video game that was designed to teach students about the different layers and ecosystems of the sea. Her game “Extreme Depths” was developed on a predesigned software program, Gamestar Mechanic, which left her with the tasks of knowing what information she wanted to present and how to implement it in the design.

In “Extreme Depths,” players explore the five different “levels” of the sea as a scuba diver and a robot to find intricate ecosystems and learn about the ocean in an interactive environment. Bailey was never particularly drawn to gaming, but took the challenge as a way to prove she could do anything she put her mind to. In the email interview with she said she would tell other interested students “Go for it, even if they’re not into video gaming because it’s fun and challenging to create a video game.”

Students can make submissions to the STEM challenge in three different ways. They can create a game design in a written document, make a playable game using one of the free platforms offered on the challenge website, or make a playable game using other gamemaking and programming platforms. For more information, visit

For the full list of the challenge winners, visit


  • Suffern student wins video game challenge, and Obama’s praise -
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