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Welcome, educators and parents! If you’re intrigued by the idea of teaching video game design in K-12, you’ve landed on the right page. Video games have evolved beyond mere entertainment; they’re now a potent educational tool that combines creativity, logic, and technology.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through creating a non-coding video game design workshop tailored for K-12 students. From the essentials to the finer details, we’ve got you covered. So why consider teaching video game design in K-12? It’s not just about fun; it’s about equipping the next generation with a unique blend of skills that are both practical and future-ready.

By the end of this post, you’ll have a comprehensive guide to kickstarting your own workshop. Whether you’re a seasoned educator or a parent looking to enrich your child’s learning, teaching video game design in K-12 has never been more accessible or rewarding.

So, let’s dive in and unlock the secrets to making education both engaging and future-focused!

The Educational Powerhouse: Video Game Design Workshops

Why Video Game Design in Education is a Game-Changer

Video game design isn’t just about fun and games; it’s a powerful educational tool with a multitude of benefits. According to a report by the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), video games in education offer several high-level benefits:

Table: Key Benefits of Teaching Video Game Design in K-12

The Real-World Impact

Schools that have integrated game-based learning show evidence of students developing better attitudes towards learning and demonstrating higher levels of engagement. Moreover, video games play a role in the culture of informal learning, as students chat about their favorite characters over lunch or share memes about games.

The Bottom Line

Video game design workshops for kids aren’t just a fun way to pass the time; they’re a transformative educational experience. They offer a unique blend of engagement, problem-solving, and real-world skills that can set the stage for a lifetime of learning.

So, are you ready to level up your educational game? 🎮

The Basics: What You’ll Need

Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks. Before you can start teaching video game design in K-12 classrooms, you’ll need some essential materials and software. Here’s a list to get you started:


  1. Computers/Laptops: One per student is ideal, but sharing can work too.
  2. Projector: For displaying instructions or examples to the whole class.
  3. Speakers: To ensure everyone can hear any videos or presentations.
  4. Headphones: For students to work individually without distractions.


  1. Super Dungeon Maker: This is the star of the show. It’s a non-coding platform that allows students to create their own video games.
  2. Internet Browser: For research and accessing online resources.
  3. Document Software: Think Microsoft Word or Google Docs for taking notes and planning.


  1. Whiteboard & Markers: For brainstorming and sketching out ideas.
  2. USB Drives: For saving projects, especially if students are sharing computers.
  3. Sticky Notes: For agile project management and quick reminders.

Online Platforms

  1. Cloud Storage: Google Drive or Dropbox for sharing and saving work.
  2. Communication Tool: Seesaw or Microsoft Teams for class announcements and group discussions.

Super Dungeon Maker: A Non-Coder’s Paradise

Super Dungeon Maker stands out as a gem, especially when it comes to teaching video game design in K-12. Why? Because it’s crafted for those who aren’t fluent in coding. This means your students can bypass the steep learning curve of complex programming languages and focus solely on the creative facets of game design. It’s user-friendly and packed with features that make it an excellent choice for educational environments.

Ready, Set, Go!

So, there you have it. With all these materials in hand, you’re fully equipped to embark on your exciting journey of teaching video game design in K-12 settings.

Actionable Tip: Pilot Before You Dive

Actionable Tip: Before going full throttle, consider launching a pilot program to test out your chosen materials and software. This will give you a chance to gather invaluable feedback from your students and make any tweaks that may be necessary for effective teaching in the K-12 game design landscape.

What’s Next? The Real Deal!

What’s next? Buckle up, because we’re about to delve into the nitty-gritty steps for setting up your very own workshop focused on teaching video game design in K-12. Stay tuned!

I’ve incorporated the keyword naturally and kept the tone conversational. Let me know if you have more sections to revise!

Day 1: Introduction to Video Game History

Objective of the Day

The goal for today is twofold: to introduce students to the rich history of video games and to make this educational journey as engaging as possible with fun activities.

The Lesson Plan

Part 1: The Evolution of Video Games

  1. Introduction: Start by discussing how video games have evolved from being seen as a temporary fad to an industry that surpasses film and music combined.
  2. Timeline Activity: Create a timeline on the whiteboard, marking significant milestones in video game history. Ask students to come up and place key events or inventions on the timeline.
  3. Discussion: Talk about how technological progress has been closely tied to the gaming industry.

Part 2: The Pioneers and Game-Changers

  1. Video Segment: Show a segment from the video “The Entire History of Video Games” by NeverKnowsBest, focusing on the ’70s and ’80s.
  2. Group Activity: Divide students into small groups and assign each a decade or a significant gaming company to research. Have them present their findings to the class.

Part 3: Fun Time!

  1. Game Trivia: Conduct a trivia quiz based on the video and discussion. Include questions about key figures, game-changing inventions, and iconic games.
  2. Guess the Game: Show snippets of iconic games from different eras and ask students to guess the name and the decade it was released.

Materials Needed

  • Whiteboard & Markers
  • Projector for video and presentations
  • Computers/Laptops for research
  • Trivia cards or buzzer system for the quiz


By the end of the day, students will not only have a foundational understanding of video game history but will also have engaged in activities that make the learning process enjoyable.

Actionable Tip: Use this day as an opportunity to gauge the students’ interests in different aspects of gaming history. This will help tailor the rest of the workshop to their interests.

Ready for Day 2? Let’s keep the momentum going!


Day 2: Diving into Game Mechanics in K-12 Education

Objective of the Day: Mastering the ABCs of Game Mechanics

Today’s mission is a deep dive into the heart of what makes video games so captivating: the game mechanics. This is a crucial step in teaching video game design in K-12 settings. We’ll break down the fundamental elements—think levels, scores, and controls—that serve as the backbone of any game.

teaching game design in K-12
Photo credit: Justin Michael

Hands-On Learning: Your Ideas Come to Life

By the end of the day, your students won’t just be well-versed in these mechanics. They’ll also engage in a hands-on activity where they can brainstorm and conceptualize their own unique game mechanics. This is where the real magic of teaching video game design in K-12 comes alive.

The Lesson Plan

Part 1: The ABCs of Game Mechanics

  1. Introduction: Kick off the day by explaining what game mechanics are and why they’re crucial to any video game.
  2. Levels: Discuss the concept of levels in games, how they add complexity, and why they’re essential for player engagement.
  3. Scores: Dive into the role of scores, points, and leaderboards in making a game competitive and rewarding.
  4. Controls: Explain the different types of controls like touch, joystick, and keyboard, and how they impact gameplay.

Part 2: Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, students should be able to:

  1. Identify different types of game mechanics.
  2. Understand the role of levels, scores, and controls in a game.
  3. Explain how these mechanics contribute to a game’s success.
  4. Brainstorm ideas for their own game mechanics.

Part 3: Activity – Brainstorming Session

  1. Group Up: Divide the students into small groups.
  2. Idea Generation: Give each group a whiteboard or paper to jot down ideas for game mechanics they’d like to see in a game.
  3. Pitch Time: Each group presents their ideas to the class.
  4. Feedback Loop: Open the floor for constructive feedback and discussion among the groups.

Materials Needed

  • Whiteboard & Markers
  • Paper and pens for brainstorming
  • Projector for presentations

Takeaway: Building Blocks Mastered in K-12 Game Design

Today’s focus is on getting to the core of what makes a game function. By the time the bell rings, your students will walk away with a robust understanding of game mechanics, a cornerstone in teaching video game design in K-12. Plus, they’ll have a treasure trove of imaginative ideas for their own game projects.

Actionable Tip: Safeguard Those Creative Sparks

Actionable Tip: Don’t let those brainstormed ideas gather dust. Keep them safe and handy, as we’ll be revisiting and incorporating them when we dive into game creation using Super Dungeon Maker.

What’s Cooking for Day 3?

Can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon? Neither can we! Stay tuned for Day 3, where we’ll continue our journey in teaching video game design in K-12.

Day 3: Get Your Hands Dirty with Super Dungeon Maker in K-12 Education

Objective of the Day: From Novice to Dungeon Master

Today, we’re shifting gears from theory to practice. It’s time to roll up those sleeves and immerse yourself in the hands-on world of game creation, specifically through Super Dungeon Maker. This aligns perfectly with our goal of teaching video game design in K-12 classrooms. By the time the school bell rings, you’ll have firsthand experience with this beginner-friendly, non-coding platform. And guess what? You’ll even craft your very own simple dungeon.

The Lesson Plan

Part 1: Introduction to Super Dungeon Maker

  1. Overview: Introduce Super Dungeon Maker as a pixel-art dungeon editor inspired by classic 2D adventure games.
  2. Features: Highlight its user-friendly interface, the variety of elements you can add, and how it allows for creative freedom without the need for coding.

Part 2: Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, students should be able to:

  1. Navigate through Super Dungeon Maker’s interface.
  2. Utilize the platform’s features to add rooms, enemies, and items.
  3. Create a simple dungeon based on their brainstormed ideas from Day 2.

Part 3: Activity: Create a Simple Dungeon

  1. Tutorial Walkthrough: Guide students through the initial steps of creating a dungeon, as shown in the video by Rokaplay.
  2. Brainstorm Revisit: Have students refer back to their brainstormed ideas from Day 2.
  3. Dungeon Creation: Students will use Super Dungeon Maker to create a simple dungeon. Encourage them to incorporate elements like puzzles, enemies, and rewards.
  4. Show and Tell: Each student or group presents their dungeon to the class, explaining their design choices.

Materials Needed

  • Computers with Super Dungeon Maker installed
  • Projector for tutorial walkthrough
  • Whiteboard & Markers for brainstorming

Takeaway: From Ideas to Prototypes in K-12 Game Design

Today marks a pivotal moment where abstract ideas transform into tangible creations. Your students will exit the classroom with a working prototype of a simple dungeon, along with a newfound respect for the complexities involved in teaching video game design in K-12.

Actionable Tip: Unleash Your Creative Genius

Actionable Tip: Foster a creative environment by encouraging your students to think outside the box while designing their dungeons. In Super Dungeon Maker, the sky—or should I say, the dungeon ceiling—is the limit.

Day 4: Bringing It All Together in K-12 Game Design

Objective of the Day: From Mechanics to Complete Game

Today is the culmination of everything we’ve learned so far in our journey of teaching video game design in K-12. We’re going to integrate the game mechanics we’ve studied and the dungeons we’ve created into a complete game using Super Dungeon Maker.

The Lesson Plan

Part 1: Recap and Integration

Introduction: Begin by recapping the key takeaways from Days 2 and 3. Discuss how understanding game mechanics and hands-on experience with Super Dungeon Maker are stepping stones to creating a complete game.

Game Elements: Talk about how to integrate levels, scores, controls, and other mechanics into a complete game.

Part 2: Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, students should be able to:

  • Combine the game mechanics and dungeon elements they’ve learned.
  • Create a complete game that includes multiple levels and challenges.
  • Understand the holistic approach to teaching video game design in K-12.

Part 3: Activity – Game Creation and Testing

Group Up: Keep students in their existing groups from previous days.

Game Building: Students will use Super Dungeon Maker to integrate their dungeons and game mechanics into a complete game.

Playtest: Allow time for each group to playtest their games and gather feedback.

Feedback Loop: Open the floor for constructive feedback and discussion among the groups.

Materials Needed

  • Computers with Super Dungeon Maker installed
  • Projector for playtesting
  • Whiteboard & Markers for feedback

Takeaway: The Full Picture in K-12 Game Design

Today is the day where all the puzzle pieces fit together. Your students will leave with a complete game prototype and a comprehensive understanding of what goes into teaching video game design in K-12.

Actionable Tip: The Journey Continues

Actionable Tip: The learning doesn’t stop here. Encourage students to continue refining their games based on the feedback received, as this is an ongoing process in the world of K-12 game design.

What’s Next? The Sky’s the Limit!

Excited about what we’ve achieved so far? You should be! Stay tuned for more adventures in teaching video game design in K-12.

Pedagogical Methods for Effective Teaching

The Importance of Adaptive Assessments

Adaptive assessments are a cornerstone of effective game-based learning. These algorithms adjust the level of challenge based on students’ performance, providing a more tailored educational experience. According to a study published in Computers, adaptive learning systems can significantly improve student engagement and learning outcomes.

Collaborative Learning: More Than Just Playing Together

Multiplayer or cooperative digital learning tools offer a unique opportunity for collaborative assessments. These tools evaluate teamwork, communication, and collective problem-solving skills within the game’s context. A paper from ResearchGate supports the idea that collaborative learning can enhance the educational experience.

Game Analytics: The Unsung Hero

Game-based assessments often come with built-in analytics that track students’ progress and performance in real-time. Matt Massman from Hurix Digital emphasizes the importance of utilizing these analytics to review individual or class-level data, including performance, progress, and areas needing improvement.

Reflection and Self-Assessment

One of the most overlooked aspects of game-based learning is the opportunity for reflection and self-assessment. These features empower students to evaluate their performance and understanding, fostering metacognitive skills and self-awareness.

Authentic Assessments for Real-World Application

Authentic assessments require students to apply knowledge or skills acquired through the video game to real-world scenarios. These assessments may involve creating projects, solving problems, or demonstrating understanding in practical contexts.

Teacher-Student Feedback Loop

Providing personalized feedback on students’ performance within the video game is crucial. It not only highlights areas of strength and areas for improvement but also guides students toward additional resources or activities to deepen their understanding.

By integrating these pedagogical methods into your video game design workshop, you’re not just teaching video game design in K-12; you’re revolutionizing the way students learn, engage, and assess their own progress.

Conclusion: The Future of Teaching Video Game Design in K-12

In a nutshell, creating a video game design workshop for K-12 students is more than just a fun activity; it’s a transformative educational experience. From understanding the history of video games to diving into game mechanics and finally getting hands-on experience with Super Dungeon Maker, this workshop offers a comprehensive learning journey.

The pedagogical methods we’ve discussed, such as adaptive assessments, collaborative learning, and authentic assessments, aren’t just buzzwords. They’re proven strategies that can significantly enhance the learning experience, supported by studies from Computers, ResearchGate, and experts like Matt Massman at Hurix Digital.

So, what’s next? The beauty of this workshop is its flexibility. Feel free to adapt the curriculum, try out different game design platforms, or even introduce advanced modules as you see fit. The sky’s the limit, and the only boundaries are those you set for yourself and your students.

Go ahead, take the plunge, and revolutionize the way you’re teaching video game design in K-12. Your students won’t just thank you; they’ll be better prepared for the digital future that awaits them.

Richard Campbell

Richard Campbell is an experienced English professor in South Korea with over 20 years of teaching experience across all levels of education. With a doctorate in education, Richard is passionate about promoting language learning and using innovative approaches, including AI writing tools, to inspire his students.