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Game On: Boosting Student Engagement and Achievement at Bear Lake Middle School

Bear Lake Middle School is nestled in the town of Montpelier, Idaho and is known for inclusive and active learning. One of the ways they do this is by bringing in a plethora of electives and clubs for their students to choose from, such as STEM Forged’s Game Design curriculum.

We sat down with Daniel Bishop, the dedicated librarian at Bear Lake Middle School, who plays a pivotal role in facilitating our program. We wanted to learn about their experience with STEM Forged’s Game Design Program.

Before partnering with STEM Forged, Mr. Bishop observed that students were often disengaged and uninspired by traditional classroom subjects. They lacked motivation, and had a hard time connecting their traditional subjects with real life application. Students struggled to see the relevance of their studies, leading to inattentiveness in class. Mr. Bishop recognized there was a need to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real world application.


Witnessing students' declining engagement levels was a wake-up call, prompting the school to seek innovative solutions to reignite their students’ passion for learning. Bear Lake Middle School decided to partner with STEM Forged to bring game based learning to their students. The decision to collaborate with STEM Forged was driven by a desire to provide practical skills that would be helpful for their students and create a more dynamic learning environment.

“A lot of these kids get tired of the standard classes. They are doing math, they are reading, they’re doing social studies, and that's all the time. To have something that is different and something that is more to their levels of understanding and their idea of fun can make school more interesting. Having a class like this helps them improve achievement in their core classes because it's like, maybe this isn’t so bad.”

Bear Lake Middle School opted for STEM Forged over competitors due to its unique approach and personalized support system. STEM Forged provides a rich game design curriculum along with a professional remote instructor to deliver the class. Previous attempts at engaging students had fallen short because they lacked the individualized attention and hands-on guidance provided by STEM Forged's instructors. When asked what features provided the most value to the school, Mr. Bishop confirmed with 

“We do appreciate Leslie, that makes it real easy, to have somebody live to be able to help teach each student. To have her right there to work through students' questions, that has been really helpful. If this program was just an internet class where it's just a list of instructions, I don’t think they (the students) would do as well.”

When surveyed, 100% of students agreed that the most valuable aspect of this class was the discussions and interactions with the STEM Forged instructor.

Overall, the school and students recognized the value of live support from instructors like Leslie, understanding that it would significantly enhance the learning experience for students.

Mr. Bishop reported that the students embraced the challenge of game design, and transitioned from passive learners to active creators. Despite concerns that the program was solely about gaming, they discovered the depth of learning involved. From coding to 3D modeling students gained many skills that Mr. Bishop deemed relevant to careers that the students expressed interest in.

When students were asked what sparked their interest, we got a range of responses :

  • “I like to play video games and I thought making em would be fun”

  • “I wanted to take this class as soon as it came out”

  • “I liked how we can use our imagination to create”

The STEM Forged Game Design class is now in its second year in Bear Lake Middle school. This spring group has 14 dedicated students enrolled in the course. They are producing tangible results, including the development of unique games and a greater interest in expanding their game design skills. When asked, 82% of the students agreed that the integration of gaming and education benefited their learning and interest in school. This program has not only fostered creativity but also has equipped students with valuable skills for the future, laying the foundation for continued success in STEM careers.

Are you ready to take the leap towards leveling up your school's curriculum and empower students through game-based learning? Schedule a consultation with STEM Forged today and discover how our innovative programs can uplift your students’ educational experience.

STEM Forged programs are available at Schedule a consultation today.

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