STEM-in-Action: How Video Games Can Bring STEM Concepts to Life

When it comes to captivating learners of all ages, nothing is more intriguing than video games. And for us educators, how can we not get excited about all the STEM connection opportunities?

Gaming offers something for everyone. It's an engaging experience that draws learners into various cross-curricular topics while teaching essential career-readiness skills along the way. Video games are the ultimate game-changer in education!

As you read, be on the lookout for free downloads, free trials and valuable resources. With PCS Edventures, you’ll discover the secrets that turn your curriculum into an immersive adventure.

Unlock the Power of Literacy:

Video games have come a long way. With modern gaming, players become virtual engineers, designing and constructing unique environments from the ground up. Creating characters and settings requires them to act as writers too. As they craft storylines and adventures, they see their creations come to life. This allows for endless creativity and exploration. It's the perfect way to get learners excited about literacy!

While some games center around story building, others provide an established narrative. That’s where STEM Meets the Science of Reading.

Research suggests that when learners delve deeply into a specific topic or already have a firm grasp on the subject, they are better equipped to apply its concepts to their reading (​​Schwartz, 2023). Similar to a virtual field trip, STEM in video games allows gamers to interact with stories and objects they may never have encountered otherwise. As they play and explore, learners gain background knowledge and build vocabulary that supports reading comprehension.

Virtual reality (VR) brings learners even deeper into the story. Just ask educators who have used our Discover Blocksmith: 3D Coding & Design program with their learners.

Our kids love websites where they get to build and play, and Blocksmith fits right in with this. Blocksmith also takes kids to a new level beyond other websites in that it allows kids to do problem-solving and higher order thinking…It is one way that we can integrate VR into what we are doing, and the kids love it because it's something they created and then get to see!

J. Barenberg, Marsing School District, After School Instructor

For more educator testimonials, visit The Blocksmith Case Study. Bring VR to your students today with a FREE Blocksmith trial!

Make Concepts Tangible:

When we spend time engaging with content firsthand, we learn more. Video games do this masterfully.

Do you remember the craze surrounding the game Angry Birds? Players launched birds at an angle that struck pigs perched on top of towers that were ready to topple. Educators, being the creative superheroes they are, seized the popularity of this game and turned something learners already loved into an engaging learning opportunity.

For example, some used it to teach physics topics like force and motion, while others made mathematical connections and modeled rocket launch simulations (Moore-Russo et al., 2015). In this way, playing and analyzing the game made STEM concepts more concrete.

The Video Game Design Course from PCS Edventures takes this to the next level. Complete with live virtual instructors and a standards-aligned curriculum, the experience is full of technology, engineering design, art, math and robotics and coding. Learners bring STEAM concepts to life as they actively design and program their games. What’s more, game creation requires quite a bit of critical thinking and problem-solving. STEM in video games provides an authentic way to practice valuable skills.

Power-Up Skills for STEM Careers:

Gamification can inspire learners to pursue STEM careers. Although 'video game designer' may seem like the obvious career path, players gain innumerable skills that can be applied to a variety of professions.

Do video games teach career-readiness skills? Yes! Through targeted instruction based on the virtual world, gamers develop the power skills they need to succeed in the real world.

For instance, educators can teach learners to be active listeners and effective communicators using a competitive gaming environment. Educators may also assign design challenges that require learners to be adaptable and think through problems in creative ways. Practicing these skills in a highly engaging way encourages learners to master and apply them instinctively in other settings.

Esports are already making an impact on learners entering the professional world! See how high schools around the country are using gamification to teach social-emotional skills, career and technical education (CTE) and other transferable life skills.

The Esports Movement - STEAM Gamification

Coding is also an important skill for professionals, not just those in STEM fields. Many industries rely on computer programming, so coders are often in high demand. Blocksmith is an easy way for educators to introduce coding. Through step-by-step scaffolded lessons, learners design 3D games and scenarios that bring their creations to life. Blocksmith makes coding exciting for players at any skill level.

Ready to bring coding to your learning environment, but not sure where to begin? With PCS Edventures’ free trial of Blocksmith, you can get started right away!

Discover Blocksmith: Free Trial

Video Games in Any Learning Environment: How Can I Get Started?

Implementing a STEM and video game-based curriculum is simpler than you think! From virtual instructors and step-by-step guides, PCS provides the tools you need to teach in a way that resonates with today's learners.

I'm interested in video games and STEM! Which resources should I explore first?

Check out these gaming-forward programs and activities your learners will love!

Gain access to a library of lessons in programming and video game design. Discover Blocksmith gives educators the confidence to harness the power of video games and virtual reality in any learning environment.


Video Game Design Course learners up for success with skills they can apply to any career path. With topics like 3D modeling, animation and programming, educators and learners cannot get enough!


Inspire the next generation of computer programmers with Scratch Camp. These 12 one-hour lessons are key to getting learners excited about coding.


Spark learners' interest in coding by letting them program their own game! Download this FREE guide to get started.


Subscribe to join the PCS Edventures STEMbassador Community. Receive exclusive perks and offers throughout the year.

Author: Jessica Ventre

An experienced elementary educator and science instructional coach, Jessica’s passion for STEM instruction and student-led learning is always at the forefront of her lessons and professional development workshops.


References:

Moore-Russo, D., Diletti, J., Strzelec, J., Reeb, C., Schillace, J., Martin, A., Arabeyyat, T., Prabucki, K., & Scanlon, S. (2015, September 8). A study of how angry birds has been used in mathematics education. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40751-015-0008-y

Schwartz, S. (2023, February 21). What is background knowledge, and how does it fit into the science of reading? Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/what-is-background-knowledge-and-how-does-it-fit-into-the-science-of-reading/2023/01

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