Series: Edutopia Tech2Learn

Real-World Lesson: Designing a Video Game
Lesson Objective: Model real-world problem solving by designing video games
Grades 9-12 / Games / Technology

Thought starters

  1. How does the problem-solving nature of the project help to deepen students' learning?
  2. What evidence do you see of real-world project management?
  3. Why is the involvement of the fifth grade class an important element of the task?
I am very impressed with this project and resources. Thank you Mr. Chun! As a female computer scientist turned educator, I especially love "I learned to program". I'm looking forward to exploring the curriculum.
Recommended (1)
Placing students on teams to design and work together challenged them in their area of expertise and at the same time they gained the knowledge of learning from their team members. Project motivation and high expectations were immediatley set with the involvement of the fifth grade class. Getting feedback from the fifth grade class, also provided students with the experience and realization they needed to make creative improvements. Excellent project for real world problem solving Mr. Chun! What formative assessment and feedback did you use with your student's on a daily basis? What was your final summative assessment?
Recommended (0)
Anything that involves team work provides "life skills," for each student who will someday be involved in the work force. I am very impressed with the "fun"/yet higher level learning that is very evident!. Bloom would be so proud of this! Kagan would just love the active cooperative learning that istaking place! GREAT JOB!!
Recommended (0)
Thanks everyone! The games are now posted here: Corbi, I do written formative assessment on a weekly scale (using self-reflection rubrics for groupwork) but I also try to have a daily interaction with each group that's tailored to their current challenges -- which may be technical, or social, or organization, or in design. This serves as formative assessment, although I don't discuss it with students that way. Then there are a couple of "final" summative assessments: One is posting the finished versions of the games to the public, and another is a group presentation to the rest of the class about their process. One of the best parts about this project is that a major part of the assessment or evaluation comes from the 5th grade students. It's not me (or their friends) telling them what's good or bad -- it's an authentic audience. Jennifer, I'd love to publish your story about learning to program as well!
Recommended (0)
One thing I found with our own video game design projects ( is the need for the various assessment tools along the way to keep students on track and to gauge what is being learned. In a way, with game design, the final product (game release) is a great goal, but often the real magic takes place while students are on that path to that final goal. Ben's students show this, I believe, and the use of the younger grade class as a source for inspiration of ideas and also as a test-group (a key component to the iterative design idea) is fantastic. You know, one of the areas of job growth these days is in the game design industry, and that goes way beyond programming: they need writers, testers, project managers, etc. Thanks for sharing the work and the play, and the places where those two importance concepts can come together in a classroom. Kevin
Recommended (0)


  • -------------------------------------------------------------
    Type-Right, Inc. Job #MDA1001

    Interview with BEN CHUN at GALILEO

    Transcribed: May 2, 2012

    Chun: [TO CAMERA] Everybody who makes

    Type-Right, Inc. Job #MDA1001

    Interview with BEN CHUN at GALILEO

    Transcribed: May 2, 2012

    Chun: [TO CAMERA] Everybody who makes something really, really wonderful, gets there through a process of making something that's really not that great to start with, and then slowly improving it, taking feedback, getting new ideas, and what I think is a ... a process that's a little bit closer to the real world.


    Chun: [IN CLASSROOM] The decisions that you need to make today are decisions about what's going to get into the game and what's going to need to be left out in order for you to finish in time for the 5th graders to actually play these games in a week. Okay?
    [00:00:45] [TO CAMERA] And this project that they're working on right now is the biggest one of the year. They're, umm ... they're making an educational video game for a particular 5th grade class that we went and visited at a local elementary school.
    [00:00:57] [TO STUDENT] Oh, oh, it's when the ... when the corn pops up and it's ready to harvest. Do you have to actually activate on each one?
    [00:01:03] [TO CAMERA] And so, we went and ... and interviewed the students and got to know them, and found out what kinds of music they listen to, what movies they like, the cartoon characters that they follow, the video games that they already play. Students also interviewed the 5th grade teacher and found out what the learning objectives are -- the California state 5th grade content standards.
    [00:01:24] And so, by going there and really seeing what their classroom was like, we ... we were sort of immersed into their world and ... and we understand that we're creating something for them.
    [00:01:33] [TO STUDENTS] Why are we hitting the "Out of Memory" error? You've hit it.
    Student: Images?
    Chun: Because of what?
    Student: Too many images?
    Chun: Too many images. Or, the images themselves are too big, right?
    Chun: [TO CAMERA] The software that we use is called "Processing," and it's actually a ... a project that was initiated at the MIT Media Lab. It uses the Java syntax.
    [00:01:50] The thing that Processing provides is a ... a built-in graphics library, and a really easy sort of development process, so you don't have to compile it; you just push "Play" and then your code immediately turns into something that's happening on ... on the screen.
    Student: It's pretty interesting to do, I mean, like, if you want to be a computer scientist, and it's a good starter.
    Chun: [TO CAMERA] We formed teams, and the teams go through a brainstorming process and a[n ??] idea refinement process.
    [00:02:23] Right now, I have teams of three. The different roles that the ... that the students take on are the technical lead -- and that's the person who's going to be sort of most responsible for the programming; the art lead -- the person who's going to be responsible for not only the concept art, but actually the production art -- the ... the actual, you know, pixels that go on the screen during the game. And then a project manager.
    Student: Half the [INAUDIBLE (??)] is going to be like a city; other half is going to be, like ... like a grass playtop area.
    Student: I'm the project manager, which is basically telling these guys when the project is due; like, what we need to catch up on; the schedule; umm, and what kind of pace we're going to be on.
    Chun: [TO CAMERA] Instead of having there be a designated designer role, it's actually that everybody is the designer.
    Student: I took, like, an image of a horse, shrink it down, and then I remade it into a pixillated horse.
    Chun: [TO CAMERA] There's 13 teams, and there ... and there's some pretty interesting stuff going on. There's a game called "Cookie Attack," and, uhh ... and it's about fractions. I think this is a ... a real achievement in terms of responding to the audience.
    Student: We notice that the 5th graders, they kind of like the violence, and we kind of incorporate it into our game, where they have to answer questions to get the cookies, and they have to use the cookies to shoot the monsters.
    [00:03:39] I'm better at programming than all the other stuff, so I did the programming. And then Miranda, she's better at PhotoShop, so she did the, uhh, graphics. And then Angel -- her part was to separate kind of like the jobs, and then assign some concepts.
    Chun: [TO CAMERA] Just recently, actually, that 5th grade class came here, to Galileo, and visited us, and we had a chance to show them some demos and some prototypes of ... of the games that ... that my students are working on. And my students took that feedback to really help them shape their games.
    Student: This is the same thing?
    Student: No, this screen [INAUDIBLE (??)]. This is when you exit and ...
    Student: I really want to know if they get bored of the game or if they're having fun with it, because it makes me feel happy if they ... if they like the game. If they have some bad feedback, then I have to work on it some more.
    Chun: [TO CAMERA] By doing a project that ... that has a real audience, I think it provides a little bit more motivation to ... to really put the effort into making it good, umm, and that allows them an opportunity to find out that you don't just make something good the first time you try. And software that's running on computers -- whether it's on your smart phone or on your desktop computer or on a web site somewhere -- that software dominates a lot of our reality.
    [00:05:01] And so, having some idea of how those things work I think allows you to ... to be just a more informed citizen.
    [SCREEN: "Click on these links ..."]


School Details

Galileo High School
1150 Francisco Street
San Francisco CA 94109
Population: 1909

Data Provided By:



Ben Chun
Technology / 10 11 12 / Teacher



All Grades / All Subjects / Tch Tools

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, All Subjects, Class Culture

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12, ELA, Class Culture

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Students / Class Culture