Project Summary: Girlstart's Game Development Series for Girlstart After School Participants

Lead: Girlstart
Elementary school girls look up and listen to instructions from their desksContact: Tamara Hudgins, Ph.D., Executive Director Contact E-mail:

Project Dates: April 4, 5, 11, 12, and 14, 2012
Total Number of Youth Served: 36 girls, 8 informal educators
Funding: $2,500

Project Summary:
In addition to weekly programs that build STEM skills and increase interest in STEM, Girlstart offers programming at select Girlstart After School partner campuses. Girlstart After School provides a rigorous array of free science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs every week throughout the school year for groups of ~20 girls at our partner schools, as well as wraparound services to support STEM at each campus.

Two elementary school girls sit up listening to instructions at their desksThis project accomplished what is known as a “wraparound service”: two technology‐intensive Game Development programs for Girlstart After School participants (4th and 5th grade girls) at Cook and Wooten Elementary Schools. Girlstart’s Game Development Series is a thematic STEM/computer science experience for girls. It is designed to build computer science/technology acumen and increase participants’ interest in STEM subjects and careers. Each Game Development Series is taught using Girlstart’s diverse toolbox of game development and technology tools, ensuring that all topic‐specific content is rooted in crucial programming skills.

We prepared girls for a day of intensive computer science programming by dedicating Girlstart After School sessions in early April to computer science, game theory, and programming fundamentals. On April 14, each participant completed a fully playable video game that they may continue to work on (and continue to play) via a web browser after the workshop.

Schedule:Girls in classroom discussion
April 4 and 5, April 11 and 12 (After School):

  • Programming fundamentals.
  • Game theory
  • Analog game creation and testing
  • Conditional statements

April 14, 8AM‐12:30PM

  • What is an agent?
  • Game components: What’s the goal? The challenge? The agents? The setting?
  • Agent creation
  • Level One worksheet/game framework creation
  • Conditional statements review
  • Programming the game
  • Testing, troubleshooting, and making a new game level

Project Impact:
Our goal was to introduce video game development to 30 girls and to have
100% of the girls complete a fully playable video game. This was accomplished.

Results include:Class full of girls working on laptops

  • 81% of participants reported interest in game development after the workshops.
  • 75% report development would be a fun career.
  • 86% report they want to make MORE games.
  • When asked what did you like MOST about the game development process, 58% of girls said they liked ‘all’ of the series, including programming.
  • When asked what did you like LEAST about the game development series, 78% turned the question on its head and said, “I liked it ALL.”
  • 36 girls participated in the program.
  • 97% of participants were Latina.

Comments from participant surveys included:
• “I knew I could make games but now I know how.”
• “I know how to design objects and program them.”
• “I can make my own game rather than letting somebody else do it.”
• “It’s fun, active, and not boring!”

How did this project benefit from being a collaborative effort?
Girlstart provided its expertise and resources: curriculum, supplies and materials, laptops, software and how-tos, snacks, program coordination and program leaders. The schools we partnered with: Cook and Wooten Elementary Schools, provided the space and effective strategies for participant recruitment and ongoing communication with the girls’ families to ensure that evaluation could be conducted and completed.

Final Budget:
Item CSCP Funding Other Funds Source of Other Funds Total Funds
Partner School Sites   In-Kind School Districts  
Contract and Professional Instructional Staff $2,500 $2,500 KDK-Harman Foundation $5,000
Snacks   $100 Individual Donors $100
Supplies (T-shirts, STEM materials, office supplies   $5,000 KDK-Harman Foundation $5,000
Total $2,500 $7,600   $10,100