Grant supports sustainable fishing video game

Schmahl Science Workshops is a not-for-profit partnership of students, parents, teachers and science professionals who work together to foster a love of science among pre-K through 12th grade children. Founded in 1996 by a group of four children and their parents, it has developed into a respected provider of hands-on science workshops, spanning biology, chemistry, earth science, forensics, math and physics. Through research experiences, SSW’s workshops enable students to explore, invent and to develop the skills needed to achieve career success.

SSW’s efforts received a boost recently from the AMD Foundation in the form of a $35,000 grant. The grant will be used to develop a sustainable fishing video game to communicate “the danger of over fishing to long-term human survival.”

The “Sustainable Seafood” game design project will guide middle school and high school students in designing and programming a Flash or Facebook game about sustainable fishing. Additionally, AMD will donate $25,000 for the purchase of 10 AMD-powered notebooks and software that will be used for the game project.

The sponsorship supports AMD’s signature education initiative, AMD Changing the Game, which promotes social issue game development as a tool to inspire teens to learn, improve their science, technology, education and math (STEM) skills, and become more attuned to global social issues.

“Like children everywhere, the children at Schmahl Science Workshops love science and learn best when they are motivated, challenged and having fun,” said Belinda Lowe-Schmahl, Executive Director, Schmahl Science Workshops. “This video game project will not only teach the science behind game design, but also the lessons of how our daily choices can impact the environment and the world.”

To build the game and understand the ramifications of overfishing, students will need to learn about the interaction between world economies, biology and geography, among other disciplines. As they complete the basic game design this spring and summer, students will learn game design, coding, navigation, content and strategies. School-year students will then refine the game, adding new information, challenges and choices, as well as increasing playability. The game is expected to be completed in the spring of 2011.