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The Scratch Game Design Challenge

Published on May 30, 2017

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The Scratch Game Design Challenge

Michael Graffin (@mgraffin) 
Photo by andresmh

ISTE Standards

  • For Students: Knowledge Constructor and Creative Communicator.
  • For Teachers: Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.
ISTE Standards for Students -
Knowledge Constructor and Creative Communicator

Students use a game design framework, and online learning resources, to plan, create, and publish animated Scratch stories and games (digital learning artefacts), to communicate their learning and understandings for authentic audiences.

ISTE Standards for teachers - Design and Develop Digital Age Learning Experiences and Assessments.

The game design challenge can be adapted for teaching and learning across a range of curriculum learning areas, including Science, Mathematics, Language Arts, and Technologies. It can be used to assess students’ learning and conceptual understanding, as well as their development of coding and computational thinking skills.


  • Where are we at?
  • What do we want to learn?
  • My Scratch Journey - Lessons Learned the hard way
  • Exploring Game Design

My Scratch Journey

  • Tinkering since late 2015
  • Early adopters - Coding and Robotics Clubs
  • 2017: First time teaching Scratch to ALL students from Grades 3-6

Evolution of my Teaching Role

  • Facilitator and Guide - "Lead Learner"
  • Explicit teaching of Scratch skills / CS concepts as required
  • Explicit focus on game design & iterative programming process
  • Learning from experts

The Game Design Process

Photo by tom-b

Step 1: Ideation & Planning

  • Purpose, Storyline, Characters, Storyboards
  • Game Mechanics (Play, Rewards)
  • User Interface Design
  • Success Criteria - What does a good game look like?
  • Record process using Game Design Document
Photo by dougbelshaw

Step 2: Design & Prototype

  • What skills do students need to know in order to succeed?
  • Mini-lessons, pre-teaching
  • Time for students to build, code, and test their games
Photo by jmerelo

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Step 3: Playtest & Iteration

  • Share & seek feedback from target audience
  • Are the user interface and instructions easy to follow?
  • Is the game fun and challenging to play?
  • Are there bugs or areas for improvement?

Step 4: Publish & Share

  • Scratch online community

Let's explore this in action

  • Maze, Platform, Racer, Teach a Concept

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