This Month in STEM—Celebrating Atari!

stem education this month in stem Aug 08, 2022
Atari game console

Atari’s Anniversary

On June 27, 2022, the video company, Atari, celebrated its 50th anniversary. Atari was founded in 1972 by co-founders Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Their first product, Pong, was created five months later. From there, Atari went on to produce arcade games and its own video game console. The Atari console was the precursor to systems we know well today, like Nintendo and Xbox.


Connecting to STEM Education 

 

So how does this relate to STEM? Well, in order to create the video games we love, there needs to be code that operates the electronic components. This is the “T” and “E” of STEM. These games are made with different computer programming languages, some of which include Java or Python. Understanding how this code is written to produce a game is a key skill video game developers use daily. Learning a computer programming language is a great way to expand your critical thinking skills and open different options for careers. The benefits of STEM education expand to all subject areas and many careers.

 

Inspiring Our Students


Did you know that Nolan Bushnell became interested in electronics as a young child? In the third grade, he completed an electricity project that piqued his interest. From there, he went on to develop some of the world’s most beloved video games that children (and adults) everywhere enjoy.

Academic areas are still presented in silos in today’s schools. However, in order to develop these pertinent STEM skills, we need to think outside the box and provide students with opportunities to meet curriculum objectives through hands-on learning and real-world scenarios. This problem-based learning could inspire a new generation of Nolan Bushnells to invent the next famous video game.

Even if students do not choose this route for themselves, their problem-solving and teamwork skills, along with the ability to persist through challenges, are skills they will use for the rest of their lives in whatever career they choose. Celebrating Atari’s anniversary reminds us, then, that we need to help our students develop these skills as often as possible…. And that it’s always fun to kick back and relax with a video game.

To learn more about how we can help you integrate STEM education at your campus, contact us for a consultation. 

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