Gilbert, Ariz.- Junior high and high school students from across Arizona gathered for two full days of coding at SPARK Game Jam, a coding competition created by Gilbert, Arizona in partnership with Arizona State University’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. This was the first SPARK App League® event hosted in collaboration with the Smithsonian, specifically its Lemelson Center. The event theme of “Invention and Eats” mirrored the activities taking place at the Smithsonian’s SPARK!LAB in Washington, D.C., and encouraged students to rethink the way we grow, prepare, and consume food while also engaging the invention and gaming process.
“An event like this is important to the Smithsonian in that we’re interested in getting kids involved in technologies and helping them to learn about new ways to create, new ways to invent, and new ways to be innovative,” said Tim Pula with the Smithsonian.
Event sponsor, Waymo, formerly called the Google self-driving car project, was also onsite offering students an inside look at the self-driving vehicle. Waymo Program Manager, Elena Kolarov, provided insights into the power of coding and shared her career journey.
“I think it’s really exciting to see local government investing in the youth of this city and building the next generation of innovators,” she said.
The Best Overall Game winners were the <div>ergent from Desert Ridge High School. Their winning game, “The Hunger Games”, concentrated on ending world hunger by fighting evil food monsters in order to collect and share good food with the world.
“I’ve been passionate about computers and electronics since I was in elementary school,” said winning team member Amira Fisher. “Back then I would’ve never thought this could’ve ever happened; that this could’ve been the result of that small curiosity I had.”
Other winners include:
- Best Game Design: Nerds from Gilbert High School for their game “SPARK Lunch Box Designer”
- Best Visual Design: Dream Makers from Highland Junior High School for their game “Chef Jeff’s Sandwich Adventure”
- Best Technical Game: Nochael a home school team from Mesa for their game “Cheeseburger Madness”
- Model Citizen Award: The Dream Meme Team from Gilbert Classical Academy for their game “Deliver for Me”
View photos from the event here.