Winterim–Web Game Development
A group of CA students and one teacher are spending the next two weeks immersed in a web game development and coding experience at Austin Peay State University. This group of students will build their own computer game from start to finish. Follow along as they explore the world of gaming, programming and coding!
Day 1: Mrs. Hardison introduced the group to the facilities at APSU and to their instructor for the course. The students were eager to learn and found themselves designing the beginning elements for their game.
Senior Jacopo Manini– “I thought that the first day of the camp was really fun and interesting. I have never done anything with coding and am learning that I might be interested in a career with creating video games. We are learning a lot about the Unity engine and the C# language. These are key to know for anyone who might be interested in computer science and engineering. Thank you so much for offering this possibility and class!”
Junior Jackson Trotter–“This is Clarksville Academy’s first winterim, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I have had prior experience and interest in computer science but was unfamiliar with game development which motivated me to join this particular winterim. The first day was extremely interesting and was an excellent way to start off this experience. I am excited to see what the rest of these two weeks entail!”
In the first two days of coding camp the students have learned how to create a car in a virtual world using the Unity game engine. They were able to access the store to add features such as rocks, and trees to their game. The students have learned that it takes a lot of time to program a simple task such as moving a car forward. They also learned how to move their car in different directions to avoid objects in the road and apply different camera views to their games. They finished their first lesson and Wednesday will start on their second project. The students are paired up in teams and will begin thinking about a game that they would like to develop.
“The camp is extremely insightful and makes me appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes to create video games. Even the simplest tasks are not so easy. “- Senior, Brennen Morrow
Day 3: Today the group began their second project where they learned how to install characters, animals, and food into a game. They also learned how to move these objects and eventually were able to have the player throw food at the animals. In the afternoon they were given time to work on their group game development.
“We learned multiple aspects of coding today, such as the use of prefabricated items by throwing them. It was quite informative and I’ve learned so much about coding in just this short amount of time.” -Silas Elder, CA Junior
“We learned how projectiles are created and how to allow other objects in the scene to move besides the player. I never knew anything about coding but I’ve learned and retained a lot in these 3 days.” -Dalton Daniels, CA Junior
Day 4: Today they finished their second challenge in the Unity Gaming Engine called Fetch. In this challenge they had to attempt to get balls to randomly fall from the sky and then send their dog out to catch them before they hit the ground. We will start our next challenge tomorrow. The students are powering through and learning how it can take hours to complete a simple coding activity.
Why Learn Computer Science?
Stan Rozar, Computer Science
The world as we know it is driven by technology, and the technological impact on society is only going to increase as we move further into the future. The desire for individuals with the necessary skill set to operate these technologies, whether it is lower lever abstraction with computer programming, or higher level abstraction with basic user interface, will always be in abundance.
Computer science is the study of technology and how to create, fix, and enhance it, as well its effects on society, both positive and negative. Although computer programming is not the only aspect of computer science, it is the most influential. Computer programing is the process of creating and designing an application or software, which results in a “program” that serves as instructions (in code) for a specific computing task. Half of the products that we use on a day to day bases are software products. Browsing through social media, playing a game, or many other tasks would not be possible without application or software design.
Living in the 21st century means we are living in the digital age. As I stated earlier, we are a technology driven world, which means that computer science is changing everything around us. Having a keen understanding over various computing concepts is a skill set that is becoming more and more imperative for an educated person in today’s day and age, no matter what field you decide to go into. Whether it’s medicine, science, engineering, music, or even agriculture and fashion, all of these industries utilize computing innovations to meet the needs of their clients, customers, and objectives at a more efficient rate.
Being able to say you’re an efficient programmer will not only provide a more competitive resume, learning computer programming helps you become a better problem solver by improving your cognitive thinking and logical reasoning skills, which is essentially the goal in life through any type of production, to create and find solutions to problems of the world. You can decide to create a safety app for your iOS device, assist in the design of a computing instrument to detect different diseases, or help design software that detects changes in weather. Either way, having a stronghold on the concept of computer science and programing efficiency, it allows for you to have a vital impact on the production of society in more ways than you can imagine.
By: Paul Mittura, Upper School Science
You get up on cold winter morning and the sparse clouds are beautiful reds, pinks, and oranges. Why? You are trying to head a soccer ball and can’t quite find the right place to be. Why? The breaker keeps tripping when you use your curling iron. Why? You are cleaning your bathroom and the new cleaner is making your eyes water and your throat scratchy. Why?
As a science teacher, people are constantly asking me why.
Most behaviorists would agree infants are born with innate reflexes like grasping, sucking, and blinking,but most behaviors are learned through exploration and experience. Most children will look at, pick up,and taste everything they can reach in their environment. As adults, we discourage the touching for fear of embarrassment and the tasting for obvious reasons. We encourage our children to explore in our predetermined “safety” filtered environment. This environment is usually inundated with the interests of the parents. For example if the parents are sports enthusiasts the toddler will be dressed in team apparel and every type of ball known will be in the playpen. We expose our children to what we know and like.
This behavior is both normal and expected.
As educators, it is incumbent upon us to introduce children to all disciplines. With STEM education, students are encouraged to explore the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Quality STEM educators can produce environments with “safety” parameters that allow each individual to experiment with disciplines they may not have had the opportunity to explore in a home environment. Early introduction is important for the formation of accurate concepts in a controlled environment with respect to the 4 disciplines. Continued exposure (grades 1-12) to these types of explorations is an important part of STEM instruction. One of the biggest obstacles for any educator is the dispelling of a misconception caused by misinformation or misinterpretation. Continually introducing STEM activities hopefully prevents these misconceptions from developing.
Now here comes the tough part. It is impossible for teachers to become “experts” in all areas of the educational process. Only through collaboration and pooling of resources to include expertise can pure STEM education be achieved. Vertical teaming (elementary and secondary teachers) and cross curricular teaming (science, math, English, social studies, fine arts, etc. teachers) is a good start. Ideally this would occur with each new unit,but as little as once each semester can capture a student for future studies in a discipline. This concept looks good on paper,but the logistics of moving teachers around and finding time for collaboration is a potential nightmare. Large group presentation is an option but is far less effective than single class presentations and hands on exploration. Regardless of the obstacles, STEM is a worthwhile endeavor. Capturing the interest of students is every educator’s goal and a school dynamic rich with STEM opportunities should be every institution’s goal.
To learn more about CA’s STEM program visit: https://clarksvilleacademy.com/stem/