Milwaukee Montessori School today announced that the gaming designs of 10 year old Zoe Plunkett of Milwaukee and 11 year old Himani Chonkar of Waukesha emerged from 3,000 student entries to become winners in the middle school division of 5th through 8th graders in the National STEM Video Game Challenge competition in New York City, NY. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
“We are extremely proud of Zoe and Himani and their amazing achievements,” said Monica Van Aken, Head of School at Milwaukee Montessori School. “Our STEM education program and teachers have become national leaders in crafting and adopting innovative curriculum and programs that result in these excellent student outcomes. Milwaukee Montessori School now becomes the only school in the country to have student winners of the National Stem Challenge in Game Design in 2012 and two more in 2017.”
Zoe designed a Scratch game that allows players to learn about the digestive system, while Himani’s written game design document, STEM obstacle course, challenges players to journey through a land filled with trolls, a castle and a giant mountain. To view Zoe and Himani’s work and learn more information online go to www.stemchallenge.org.
“This is really exciting for us to have winners in two categories from the same school in the same competition cycle!” said Mark German, President of E-Line Education, a founding sponsor of the National STEM Challenge, in a letter notifying the school of the awards. “And the fact that Milwaukee Montessori School produced another STEM Challenge winner years ago speaks volumes for the quality of your technology program!”
To participate in STEM, students developed original video games and game design concepts in platforms including GameMaker, Gamestar Mechanic, Scratch and Unity. The competition started in 2010 through the White House’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, per STEM organizers. STEM motivates youth by harnessing their natural passion for playing video games and inspiring them to design games of their own. This year, 23 middle and high school students emerged as winners in the STEM Challenge.
Each winning student received $1,000, a consultation with a game industry professional and a subscription to a game design magazine.
Milwaukee Montessori School is located at 345 North 95th St in Milwaukee. The school is a co-educational private independent day school for students from toddler age (18 mos.) through the eighth grade. Its mission is to provide a challenging, individualized education that develops independent thinking students of knowledge, courage, personal integrity and compassion. For more information visit milwaukee-montessori.org.