SPARK Game Jam Competition Inspires Students to Hack the Planet for Earth Day
High school and middle school students from across Arizona gathered for two full days of coding at the 5th Annual SPARK Game Jam, a coding competition created by Gilbert, Arizona in partnership with Arizona State University’s Fulton Schools of Engineering. This year’s theme focused on Earth Day and encouraged students to “hack the planet”.
Our new sponsor, Waymo, formerly called the Google self-driving car project, was onsite offering students an inside look at the self-driving vehicle. Waymo Systems Engineer, Ryan Cash, provided insights into the power of coding, and shared his journey to become a self-driving engineer.
“The team at Waymo has been really excited to be a part of this event with SPARK,” he said. “I’ve watched these high school and middle school students put together some really impressive games over 24 hours. I’ve been amazed. This is the type of activity that helps them really grow both educationally and personally.”
The teachers in attendance were also excited about the opportunities for their students.
“I think it’s neat they have corporate people here the kids can talk to and learn about life in general, about being a programmer, about being in marketing,” said Melody Fraser, a teacher from Mesquite High School. “All those things we talk about in school, but now we get to see it in real life.”
The Best Overall Game winners were first-time coders, The Trimontality from Basha High School. Their winning game, “Gilbert Cleanup”, concentrated on picking up trash “monsters” throughout Gilbert.
“I just remember each of us looking at it like, oh man, I’m so proud of this, so it was totally worth it,” said winning team member Noah Hancock.
Other winners include:
- Best Game Design: Spaghetti Code from Basha High School for their game “Canal Cleanup”
- Best Visual Design: Dragon Rage from Mesquite High School for their game “Clean Gilbert”
- Best Technical Game: New Conglomerate from Valley Vista High School for their game “Saving Gilbert”
- Model Citizen Award: Claws of Fury from Gilbert Junior High School for their game “All of Nothing!”
All of the student games will be available to play online at www.SPARKAppLeague.com on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.
To learn more about SPARK App League and how to get involved, visit www.SPARKAppLeague.com.