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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Outside-the-Box Thinking

Video games are a popular form of recreation for millions of people around the globe. Recently, some games have advanced to be known as E-Sports, as collegiate and professional gaming leagues have created international gaming competitions.

One of the first gaming consoles ever created was developed by National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee Ralph Baer. In this fun, hands-on STEM activity, children celebrate National Video Game Day as they design a prototype of their very own video game console, develop a comic inspired by a video game and more!


Materials Needed

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Costume items, old clothes
  • Drawing materials (crayons, markers, pencils)
  • Novelty toys
  • Paper
  • Recyclables


At-Home Instructions

A. Gather, design and pitch

  1. Call a few friends and ask them to tell you about their favorite consoles, games and characters (or “skins”) from video games. 
  2. Make a chart and record their responses. Do you see any themes or patterns?
  3. Now, design a new console or game that has aspects of their favorite features.
  4. Develop a 30-second pitch that will hook a family member or a friend to want to invest in or buy your new video game or system.
  5. Make sure you create a strong hook that pulls them in and gives them an action step you want them to take. Use this helpful “Pitch” poster as you develop your presentation!



BRecreate a video game in real life.

  1. Dress up as your favorite character to bring the game to life.
  2. Create obstacles to move through and jump over.
  3. Set up rewards and prizes, like novelty toys, to collect along the way!


C. Write a short story or graphic novel about characters from your favorite game.

  1. What would they do in their free time, or when they’re not on screen?
  2. What else might exist in the universe of your video game behind the scenes?
  3. Include sketched elements of your favorite game, like a background, a character’s smile or a hairstyle.
  4. Share your story and think about what might be next in the world of gaming!



What Are We Discovering?

Video games are a part of modern culture for many people around the world. They open up an imaginative, playful world of ideas to think about and interact in. Taking time to think creatively and keep open to new ideas is an important part of the invention process. When asked about how to stay open to new ideas, NIHF Inductee Kristina Johnson, co-inventor of Polarization-Control Technology, said “My inventing style is to first learn everything I can about the problem, work to understand it, and then think deeply about how I can connect what I know to solving what I don’t know.”


Looking for More STEM Activities?

We invite you to check out our brand new at-home-learning-resources page for STEM activities, activity sheets and challenges inspired by our very own NIHF Inductees.

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