Teach kids
how to game.

GGJ NEXT® supports you with effective and engaging videos to teach basic concepts in game development and provide you with lesson plans and projects for you to take into your classroom and students.

We are adding to our curriculum regularly and continually making improvements, please check back often.

Welcome to GGJ Next

At GGJ® we are all about jamming, we like the process and feel there is so much to gain from participating in a jam experience. As much fun as it is to get people together to jam, we think it is really important to have some preparation prior to jumping into a jam. That is why we are recommending that jam hosts either hold workshops or incorporate some sort of classes to prepare the young creators for making games. At GGJ NEXT® we want to help by providing educators and hosts with a curriculum, lesson plans and projects to help get students ready for a positive jam experience.  

We have established an MVP Curriculum to teach the basics - We don't expect to turn Middle School Teachers, High School Librarians and Girl Scout Troop Leaders into Game Design experts. But we do want to give them enough of an understanding that they can teach the concept to their students. This is the collective work of volunteers who are all skilled educators. We know that we will need to iterate upon this and welcome suggestions for future years, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].


JM0 - What does it mean to Jam?

JM1 - Answering questions on how games are made and how everyone works together?

JM2 - Improvisation & Icebreakers.

JM3 - Getting ready for your 1st Game Jam.

Game Design

GD0 - So you want to be a Game Designer?

GD1 - How to play as a designer rather than a player.

GD2 - Iterative design and rapid prototyping.

GD3 - The role of playtesting.  

GD4 - The 5 parts of a game: framework of goal, space, components, rules and mechanics.

GD5 - The goal of a game and game genres.

GD6 - Game mechanics and rules.

GD7 - Space and components.

GD8 - Scope, how to keep your game plans under control.

GD9 - Games as complex systems.

GD10 - The MDA framework.

GD11 - Game narrative.

Analog Game Making

AG0 - Paper prototyping.

AG1 - Creative designs and diverse materials.

AG2 - Getting past Candyland mechanics.

AG3 - Writing rulebooks.

Making Digital Games with Visual Tools

PG0 - What is game programming?

PG1 - Importing sprites and sounds; creating objects, adding some basic events and behaviors; creating a single-screen non-scrolling room and adding objects to it; running the game.

PG2 - Scrolling and otherwise dealing with things off-screen, collisions, and a handful of other events/behaviors.

PG3 - Paths, timelines, alarms, and other timing-related stuff.

PG4 - Variables, functions, scripts, basic visual language programming.

PG5 - Advanced GML, drag-and-drop functionality and the help system and MISC. to learn anything else thats missing in these tutorials.

Making Digital Game with Coding and Scripting

CP1 - Variables, basic arithmetic, basic text input/output.

CP2 - Flow control - if, for, while.

CP3 - Functions and parameters.

CP4 - Arrays.

CP5 - Objects and Classes.

CP6 - Game loops (real-time and turn-based) introduce concept of game libraries.

CP7 - Dealing with 2D graphics in one or more libraries, along with the theory of what’s actually going on here.

CP8 - Basic physics, collisions, etc… in algorithms and in one or more libraries.

Visual Arts

VA0 - What is Visual Art in Games (focus on 2D ATM).

VA1 - Found Art - how to use them in your game.

VA2 - How to trace over a reference image on a separate layer and creating stylized cartoon drawings.

VA3 - How to use a lasso / magnetic lasso to cut a portion of one piece of art out and insert it into another.

VA4 - Tile sets (tips for how to make repeating background tiles that match up), sprite sheets, 2D animation cycles.

VA5 - How to export your work so that it can be imported into a game.

VA6 - Misc./Other.


AU0 - What is Audio? Voice recording vs. Music composition vs. Foley. Common file formats.

AU1 - AudaCity - Download and Install it, playing with controls and the basics of audio.

AU2 - Found Sound and Audio Libraries. Importing Audio Files, clipping and sampling.

AU3 - Recording tips. Microphones, Optimization, Settings.

AU4 - Processing. Apply Filters and Special Effects.


PD0 - What is Production?

PD1 - How-to guide for how to be a producer on a project during a game jam, things like how to make a list of tasks, delegating tasks, how to access dependencies and critical path. Diplomacy, how to be nice when you're bugging people about getting their status or cutting features when they're falling behind.

PD2 - Primer for using some specific software tool for game dev: Excel,Trello, Slack, Discord.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Cognitive Outcomes

  • Logical thinking and problem solving
  • Meta-cognitive skills and learning to learn
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Vocabulary acquisition

Skill-Based Outcomes

STEAM-related skills

  • Programming
  • Math and Physics
  • Art (audio, visual, narrative)
  • Design (game, interaction, interface, story, character, etc)


  • Design Process: Critique, Reflection, and Iteration
  • Planning and Organization
  • Leadership and Teamwork
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Documentation and Knowledge Organization

Affective Outcomes

  • Motivation (success stories and possibilities)
  • Exploration (Safe place to fail)
  • Confidence
  • Friendship and Networking
  • Fun and Recreation

The human brain is hard-wired to enjoy learning, so not only fun and learning are not contradictory but also interconnected if the learning is done right. We learn from games all the time; good games are always “learning games” (Koster, 2013) and learning can be done through playing games (Prensky, 2007).

Not only we can learn through playing games, we can learn through making games. Game design and development is a highly cross-disciplinary process, involving various skills. Being part of a game development project, not only provides valuable outcomes for game enthusiasts, but also include many transferable skills that can be used in other contexts.

Game development is social activity; it is challenging and yet rewarding for children as they build things that they are highly interested in. Game jams are the ideal venue for taking advantage of the learning benefits of game development. They are relatively short, performed in groups, and at the presence of mentors.

When coordinated with schools, parents, and partner organizations, game jams can be a suitable venue for providing accessibility and equal opportunities to children belonging to groups, such as ethnic minorities and women, that are under-represented in game and other STEAM-related industries (Fowler and Schreiber, 2017).

Hands-on experience of a game jam, while entertaining for children, gives them the confidence that they can build real products and encourages them to pursue STEAM-related education and career.