New Main Summer 2014

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  • SGD merges into Computational Thinking Foundation
  • We are happy to announce that even though the Scalable Game Design project has come to an end, our work continues. SGD was incredibly successful and we are thrilled to announce that the Computational Thinking Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit will be able to take over and organize professional development workshops going forward. CTF will continue to take into account your terrific feedback and adapt the workshops to your evolving needs. You will see many of the same friendly faces and wonderful teachers that you already know and love, and we are working on exciting new classes and materials that we will be announcing soon!



  • St. Louis Summer Institute began on June 16, 2016, featuring 3D Online Game Design for Beginners. Students of all skill levels benefit from the use of computational thinking patterns - see what can SGD training do for your classroom today!


  • CU Summer Institute 2017 gave scholars the opportunity to choose professional development courses al-a-cart, with great success! You can read about this year's Summer Institute and start making plans to apply for training in 2018.

     2017 SI Banner.jpg



  • Frogger 3D is an official part of the 2016 Hour of Code!!
  • AgentCubes Online version 1.0.2 is the first programming tool to offer a 3D printing option for agents, thereby providing an interface for physical computing.



  • Summer Institute 2016 commences at CU Boulder, to teach Beginner and Intermediate Scholars the benefits of AgentCubes Online, June 7, 2016.

     2016 SGD SI Banner.jpg

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Project Information

This page has been retired


The goal of this project is to get computer science back to middle schools. Our strategy is to reform middle school IT education at a systemic level exploring the notion of scalable game design as an approach to carefully balance educational and motivational aspects of IT fluency.

Make Games

Frogger-like game
Frogger is a classic arcade style game from 1981 developed by Sega. This project is a good first game design activity for students with no programming background.
Journey game
Journey is a game where a traveler tries to reach a goal, with chasers blocking his way. This project is designed to present several computational thinking patterns in an incremental fashion.
Sokoban is a classic puzzle game created in 1980 by Hiroyuki Imabayashi and later published by Thinking Rabbit in 1982. This project is a good second game design activity for students who have already completed the Frogger tutorials.
PacMan-like game
Pac-Man is a classic arcade style game from 1980 developed by Namco and licensed for distribution in the U.S. by Bally/Midway. This project is a good first game design activity for high school students with no programming background.

Make Simulations

Contagion simulation
The Contagion simulation approximates how contagions are spread among humans who are in close proximity to one another.
Forest Fire simulation
The Forest Fire simulation enables you to explore how forest fires unravel by letting you set fires to virtual forests with different parameters.

Computational Thinking Patterns

A computational thinking pattern (CTP) describes object actions or interactions that are common to a large set of applications including game design and computational science. In the Scalable Game Design curriculum, CTPs are used to make basic 1980 arcade style games such as Frogger and Pacman.

Contagion simulation

We conceptualize the learning of computational thinking as a spiral approach that starts with a few fundamental CTPs. Scalable Game Design begins with games for motivational reasons and then continues on to simulations.

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This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers DLR-0833612, IIP-0848962 and 1138526. The Scalable Game Design arcade is in part supported by the National Institutes of Health under grant 1R43OD012081. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health.