GameStart School Fall Classes
GameStart School’s motto is: “We teach kids programming with video games.” They offer programming classes with a basis in popular video games, primarily Minecraft. I love that they are introducing kids to programming at the elementary school level. I still remember my early exposure to computers when I was around my daughter’s age – it was mostly playing Lemonade Stand (it was the early 80s) – and later moving into Basic programming. This early exposure influenced my decision to pursue a Computer Science Minor in college and to eventually become a blogger.
Like many elementary school students, my daughter is a Minecraft fan. She was not interested in computer programming until hearing about the GameStart School Classes that combine programming with Minecraft. She attended two of the GameStart School Workshops at Ann Arbor District Library this summer and really enjoyed them, particularly the Minecraft workshop. While the workshop was a nice introduction to programming in Minecraft, Game Start School Fall Classes will provide a more detailed exploration of programming.
Disclaimer: GameStart School has sponsored this post with premium placement on Ann Arbor with Kids. All opinions are 100% my own.
GameStart School Fall Classes
GameStart School Fall Classes will start on Saturday, October 25 and run through Saturday, December 6. There are 9 different classes being offered for the fall session.
GameStart School Fall Classes are divided by age range with third grade as the breakpoint between classes. Third graders can enroll in either classes with the younger elementary school students or with the older elementary and middle school students.
Most of the GameStart Fall Classes cost $180 for the 6 week sessions. Exceptions to the $180 price are listed with the course descriptions below.
Fall Classes for Grades 1-3:
Minecraft Engineering – Saturdays noon-1:30p or 2-3:30p
Kids get a great introduction to programming with a visual approach using Redstone material in Minecraft. Kids will learn how to create contraptions, craft traps, and create transit systems while learning the fundamentals of logic and programming.
Level Design – Saturdays 10-11:30a or 2-3:30p
Students will combine art, design, math, & physics to make a video game. They’ll be creating their own characters and props as well as the landscape. They will also create puzzles and obstacles. Finished games will be published to GameStart web page for students to share with family and friends.
Fall Classes for Grades 3-8:
Minecraft Programming – Saturdays 10-11:30a, noon-1:30p, or 2-3:30p
Kids will use the Python programming language to program within the Minecraft framework. This course is both a great introduction to programming and a popular repeat course since you can start with the basics and work your way up to advanced challenges.
Game Design – Saturday 10-11:30a
Students will learn how game designers develop fair, balanced, and fun game-play through hidden rules and mechanisms. The course will look to timeless board games and the latest video games for inspiration.
Artificial Intelligence – Saturdays 2-3:30p – $225/session
Kids will learn how artificial intelligence is used in games. They will learn to use the Unreal Engine 4 to develop their own AI system. The second half of the workshop is student-directed as they work on an enemy AI for their game.
Video Editing – Saturdays noon-1:30p
Students will learn how to make their own videos. Topics covered in the course will include shooting video, capturing computer video, and editing and producing their videos.
Computer Animation – Saturdays noon-1:30p, 2-3:30p
Students will use Maya, a professional 3D animation software to create their own animations. The class will explore motion, space, color, and light.
Starcraft II Programming – Saturdays 2-3:30p
The class will teach how Starcraft II, one of the most sophisticated games, was programmed. Kids will use the same tools and techniques that Blizzard Entertainment used to create the game and animations in Starcraft II.
Fall Classes for Grades 5-8:
Minecraft Modding – Saturdays 10-11:30a -$225/session
Minecraft Modding will build on the skills from the Minecraft Programming course as students will use Java programming language to create their own mod for the full, retail version of Minecraft. Kids will learn to add their own customizations such as lasers, paint guns, slow motion, and much more to Minecraft.
GameStart School Fall Kickoff
Before GameStart School Fall Classes start on October 25, GameStart School will hold Fall Kickoff on Saturday, October 11. During Fall Kickoff, kids will get hands-on experience with the types of skills taught during the classes.
Other GameStart Classes & Workshops
In addition to the GameStart School Fall Classes which are held on Saturdays, GameStart School is also offering classes through Ann Arbor Rec & Ed at select schools and the Cultural Arts Building. The Rec & Ed classes start this week, so register now.
They have been holding workshops at the Downtown Branch of Ann Arbor District Library. These 90 minute sessions are first-come, first-served and a great chance for kids to try out the GameStart classes before registering for a session.
GameStart School is also offering one hour workshops at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. These workshops are $20 for museum members and $25 for non-members.
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