Game Jam

Game Building Challenge for Grades 3-12

Environmental Game Jam 2023

Game Jam 2023 Kick-off at ICEC Annual Meeting.

Registration will open to teachers February 13, 2023

Game video submissions and descriptions due on March 31, 203

Awards ceremony via Zoom on April 20, 2023.


Several University of Iowa College of Education students partnered with us in 2021-2022 and created the topics below. Click on the links below for details for teachers and students!

When you click to go to their topic site, you are leaving this ICEC Game Jam site. There is a link in the footer of each site to get you back to the home page of this ICEC Game Jam site.

About Game Jam

The goal of a "Game Jam" is for a small group to get together and prototype game designs (online, pervasive, tabletop, or other formats). Participants share a common theme and create a working prototype in a short amount of time. The brief time span is meant to help encourage creative thinking to develop small innovative games.

Games are increasingly used in educational settings to help inspire curiosity, creativity, collaboration, optimism, and problem-solving skills among a wide variety of audiences. Serious games address real-world challenges, compress time and space, encourage systems thinking, and promote active engagement, making them particularly well suited to conservation education.


Your materials needs will vary depending on the type of game that your students will create. The following are some materials that may be helpful for a game jam:

  • Index cards

  • Spinners

  • Pens, pencils, markers

  • Paper (white, construction, large format, etc.)

  • Small sticky pads

  • Large sticky pads

  • Dry erase boards and markers

  • Art supplies

  • Game pieces

  • Dice (many kinds)

  • Mathematics cubes

  • Buttons or old game markers

Game Formats

Groups can develop analog or basic digital games.

Analog game - The game should only use non-digital components. Typical examples include board games, card games, or role-playing games. Games must be in a playable form at the end of the event. The category is useful for either short or long events and is suited for locations with limited technology.

Basic digital game - Games can be remixed from an existing game in the community or use a digital game platforms (e.g., Scratch, Gamestar Mechanic, Pixel Press’ Floors and Bloxels, Roblox, GameSalad, or BreakoutEDU). Minecraft can be used if there is a clearly designed game experience within a Minecraft World and there is a clear goal for a player to achieve within the Minecraft world with clear constraints. Teachers can also use interactive fiction tools to create a text adventure based on the theme (e.g., Twine, InkleWriter, Episodes).

Tips and Tricks for Jamming

  1. Play other games first. Discuss how the games are played and what makes them fun.

  2. Review these current topics to get familiar with the subject.

  3. Narrow the focus - direct team members to think about one aspect of their chosen topic.