If you know a 5th-12th grade student in the U.S. who wants to design games, check this out. The National STEM Video Game Challenge is now underway. Between now and August 16, students—either individually or in teams of up to four members—can submit actual, original games or game design documents.

Winners will get cash prizes of $1,000, as well as game design and educational software. Winning games (or designs) will also be featured on the National Geographic Education website. Games are judged on how engaging, unique, and well-balanced they are. There’s a special category for Nat Geo Explore, and those games will be judged on exploration, inspiration, and storytelling. 

This is the fifth year of the contest, which is sponsored by the  Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, E-Line Media, and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), joined this year by National Geographic Society.  The purpose of the contest is to “motivate interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) among youth by transforming their natural passions for playing video games into designing and creating their own.”

Kids who want to participate can get help in workshops led by professional game designers. More information about the workshops is on the STEM Challenge website.

You can also follow the contest on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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Linda learned to play video games as a way to connect with her teenaged kids, and then she learned to love video games for their own sake. At Pixelkin she wrangles the business & management side of things, writes posts as often as she can, reaches out on the social media, and does the occasional panel or talk. She lives in Seattle, where she writes, studies, plays video games, spends time with her family, consumes vast quantities of science fiction, and looks after her small cockapoo. She loves to hear from people out there. You can read more about her at her website, Linda Breneman.com or her family foundation's website, ludusproject.org.