The 1st district-wide AppJam+ Program & Showcase Finale Event concluded on November 29th with students from all 6 Junior High Schools in the Placentia-Yorba Linda School District. The Showcase finale event was held at the Performing Arts Center in Placentia-Yorba Linda and featured presentations from 30 student teams.
With nearly 150 middle school students from Bernardo Yorba Middle School, Kraemer Middle School, Travis Ranch School, Tuffree Middle School, Valadez Middle School Academy and Yorba Linda Middle School, judges had an incredibly tough task to select 4 four winners to take the prize. In addition to the friendly judging competition, a "Best Poster" award was voted on by participating students.View videos from each school here!
1st Place Winners of Google Chrome Books – RPG Crew from Yorba Linda Middle School
App Name: Spooky Scary Skeletons v.s. Science
Mentor: Christopher P.
Team Members: Brandon S., Jason W., Joycelyn T., Kaiden B.
App Description: Our app, "Spooky Scary Skeletons v.s. Science" teaches students about elementary sciences! When the player first begins their journey, they step into the app as the brilliant scientist, Jerry, who falls into a lake and wakes up in another dimension. In order to escape, the player has to solve a variety of science questions in order to fight their way back out! The aim of our app is to encourage students to become more involved with STEM related fields, in a fun and creative way!
Technical Components Used: Touch input is the main technological component that is used throughout our app. Additional components include different questions appearing throughout the levels, as well as navigation through multiple screens.
Additional Comments: We had an overall great time creating the app. Our team was more than pleased to watch our code work as we played our app! Hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!
2nd Place Winners of Smart Robot Car Kits – Team Mystery from Tuffree Middle School
App Name: Levels of Mystery
Mentor: Curtis T.
Team Members: Jack M., Christian R., Jeff A., Malak H., Treyton O., Lorissa P.
App Description: The concept for our teams app is a maze escape. The player must answer STEM related questions to collect enough keys to escape. The targeted age group for our game is 6th-8th grade students.
Technical Components Used: We used the accelerometer, timers, and touch inputs as the main technical components. Additional Comments: The main focus of our team was the games functionality as we had a lot of technical components we wanted to make sure got all of our features were functioning.
3rd Place Winners of Raspberry Pi Kits – Team Ninja from Tuffree Middle School
App Name: Ninjas VS Zombies: Outbreak!
Mentor: John L.
Team Members: Ariella B., Tyler J., Riley T., Austin F., Allyson L.
App Description: The Ninja base is under siege by zombies! You've been assigned a special mission: Prevent the zombies from taking over the world! Join our hero in an epic struggle to repel the intruders from our base and protect our people from harm. Designed and developed by Team Ninja, NVZ: Outbreak! is a unique infinite scroller where the character runs throughout a seemingly endless map. The player will use the entire left and right halves of the screen to either slide under, or attack oncoming enemies. To defeat enemies, flying enemies need to be slid under, and zombies need to be attacked. Choose the incorrect action, and you must face a question. Answer the question wrong, and you lose a heart. Each player will receive 3 hearts. The players will continue to try and stack up their score by defeating enemies until the final heart is lost, and set the high score.
Technical Components Used: We use timers, a database for the high score, audio, music, image sprites, buttons, and layouts. The entire game happens on a single screen, to save as much space as possible. We achieved the infinite scrolling by increasing the screen size to three times its width, and creating duplicates of each ground and background texture. When one moves offscreen, it moves right behind its copy, creating the illusion of infinite scrolling. We also utilize a concept called the "Parallax Effect" which gives the illusion of depth to a 2d space. The further back the object is, the slower it moves. We've also been able to add in an animation system for our characters in the game by looping through each sprite frame, and manipulating the name text of the sprite image, so everything on the screen is moving. Another noteworthy element is our randomized question generation. No two questions will ever be the same as each number in the equation is randomly generated, so memorization of answers is impossible. This allows for a longer lasting gameplay experience as users are not memorizing from a fixed list of questions.
Additional Comments: There are a lot of moving parts in our app and a lot of assets, so it seems the performance of our app suffers quite a bit. Given more time, we would have experimented more with optimization to provide players with a smoother gameplay experience, but our team has put a lot of effort into NVZ : Outbreak! , and we're proud of what we've been able to accomplish in such a short time!
4th Place Winners of Makey Makey Devices – Team Gaming Gods from Valadez Middle School Academy
App Name: The Pixel Mystery
Mentor: Matthew A.
Team Members: Sherlyn A., An Grace P., Alexander V., Tatiana G.
App Description: Astronaut Jeremy was sent into space for a routine mission to the space station. All of a sudden, he finds himself sucked into a black hole and into another universe. Help Jeremy return home by answering math questions to restore energy to his ship!
Technical Components Used: Sprites, canvas, audio, buttons, timers for cutscenes.
Student Favorite Best Poster Award Winners of Solar Robot Kits – The Survivors from Bernardo Yorba Middle School
App Name: Reaching Tomorrow
Mentor: :Jazmin M.
Team Members: :Andrew H., Myles A., Kyle S., Guande X.
App Description:: A quest to save the world! You are a scientist and the zombie apocalypse has just become a reality. It is not just your duty, but your nature to go out and find potions to create a cure for those who have been infected. You must solve math questions to defeat the zombies during your quest and hopefully collect enough potions to create a vaccine to save the rest of the world.
Technical Components Used: : Audio, timers, lists, randomizers, questions, moveable sprites, canvas, if/then statements, logical operators, labels, buttons, arrangements, touch options.
Additional Comments:: The imagination these students have is unbelievable! They blew me away and I am very grateful to have been able to work with them to make their vision come true to the best of my abilities.
Each year the level of technical sophistication and depth of design that the students achieve in their apps is astounding & greater! The students were bold, enthusiastic, inspiring and impressive as they presented not only at their tables, but also on stage in front of a large audience. The videos, presentations & posters students make in support of their app improve each year, as well as the breadth of technical skills the students learn in the areas of game design, graphic editing tool, and sound editing!
Thank you all for your support of a program that not only helps participants gain technical skills and knowledge of possible STEM career paths but also increases each participant's belief in themselves and their aptitude for a career in STEM fields.
Thank you to our judges Shannon Alfaro, Eddie Tabeta, Cary Johnson, Nancy Watkins, Minerva Gandara, Rose Mergelmeyer, Julie Nibali, Dr. Linda Adamson, and Ram Rao.
A special thank you to our partners: Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District, UC Irvine, CSU Fullerton, Luna Grill, SparkFun Electronics, Kay Family Foundation, Croul Family Foundation, Ties.com, Hippeas Lollicup Diamond Jamboree.