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AppJam+ Spring 2017 Showcase Finale Recap & Results

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 1:50 PM

We kicked off this year with our second Spring Program & Showcase Finale Event featuring presentations by 24 teams from 5 different program sites at the Newkirk Alumni Center at UC Irvine.


AppJam+ is a program in which the concept of building software in a short period of time is used as a tool to excite and inform middle school students about STEM fields while teaching them the creative and hands on technical process of mobile application development & exposing them to careers in STEM.


With nearly 120 middle school students this year from Valadez Middle School Academy in Placentia, Walton Intermediate Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove, Irvine Intermediate Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove, Advanced Learning Academy in Santa Ana and Rancho San Joaquin Middle School in Irvine, judges had an incredibly tough task to select 4 four winners to take the prize. In addition to the friendly judging competition, this year saw two fan favorite voting awards, Best App and Best Poster.


1st Place Winners of Google Chrome Books – Team Saffire from Walton Intermediate - Boys & Girls Club Garden Grove

App Name: Mickey’s Space Exploration

Mentor: Matthew Rodriguez

Team Members: Tony P., Amy C., Luis H., Thy D.

App Description: Mickey gets lost on an unknown strange planet and it's up to you to help him return to Earth! Help Mickey solve math problems as he collects the gems needed to fuel the rocket to get back home!

Technical Components Used: Audio, Variables


2nd Place Winners of Raspberry Pi Kits – Coding Wolves from Advanced Learning Academy

App Name: Save Pluto

Mentor: Sam Nagle

Team Members: Marco A., Julio D., Nicholas R., Dante S., Jasmine V.

App Description: It is the year 2052. As Earth's natural resources dwindle, the U.S. government turns to space: the final frontier. A team of super scientists are sent out to survey the planets of our solar system for any forms of life. They determine Pluto is the best option to save humanity. But after years in space, these scientists were driven to madness and turned against mankind. Do you have what it takes to defeat all of the evil scientists of the galaxy? Test your skills in arithmetic and astronomy in SAVE PLUTO!

Technical Components Used: Random Generation, Sprite Animation, Audio, Timers, Collision Detection, Procedures


3rd Place Winners of Ozobot 2.0 Starter Kits – Fantastic Four + Al from Irvine Intermediate – Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove

App Name: Powering Down

Mentor: Avelino Miranda III

Team Members: Michael F., Huy N., Andy T., Isaiah S.

App Description: Powering Down is a compilation of different mini-games put together to make a story. The premise is as follows: the Sun is losing energy and a brave hero (the player) needs to travel to the Sun and power it up again. For the story to progress the user is asked 5th grade - 7th grade level STEM related questions. To ensure players have a bit of understanding, each dialogue sequence before the next level hints the upcoming question's answers.

Technical Components Used: Canvassing, Layouts, Audio, Buttons, Images, Variables, Logic blocks

Additional Comments: Game relies heavily on intertwining logic switch statements to manipulate what is happening on the screen at all times. In dialogue sequences a variable dictates which text should be displayed using if/then cases. Each change is tracked by the app logic and forward sequences increments the variable while backward sequences decrement it. Since the game is screen heavy, clever layout design allowed our group to dictate which "screen" (truly a layout under the hood) is visible/invisible at any given time. This allowed our group to compact the mini-games into its own screen instead of multiple ones.

 

4th Place Winners of Makey Makey Devices – The Revolutionists from Rancho San Joaquin Middle School

App Name: The Apocalypse

Mentor: Alexi Diaz

Team Members: Zoe S., Bryce L., Geraldine A., Yannik C., Derryn C.

App Description: You are the last person on Earth after a series of horrific events that left you to fend for yourselves. In order to reach safety, you must venture through dangerous territories to reach the coveted sanctuary. Along the way you will face obstacles that you must overcome in order to save yourself. The obstacles will test your knowledge of the terrors of science in a timed setting to reach the final level.

Technical Components Used: Audio, Image sprites, Gifs, Buttons, Canvas, Texts


Fan Favorite Award Winner (Best App) – To Hardware from Irvine Intermediate – Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove

App Name: Breadborne

Mentor: Minh Phan

Team Members: Christopher N., Timothy V., Nguyen N., Nam T.

App Description: Breadborne is an interactive application that helps reinforce a student’s learning in math and biology. With fun animation and a sense of urgency, the user must defeat a different boss at each level with increasing difficulty by answering questions related to STEM before being defeated.

Technical Components Used: Animation, Graphics, Audio, Text


Fan Favorite Award Winner (Best Poster) – Little Einsteins from Rancho San Joaquin Middle School

App Name: Slime Slide

Mentor: Emmanuel Reyes

Team Members: Aiden C., Trinity T., Richard F., Kailene F., Shruthi A.

App Description: Slime Slide is a fun math action game where the user has to help the slime avoid raindrops and answer math questions to keep Slimey alive. Players only have three lives, but have unlimited tries to answer the math problems. The math problem will appear every ten seconds and will pause the entire game. Players will not be able to continue playing unless they answer the problem right. The longer the user plays the harder the questions become, but the difficulty of the actual game stays the same. This game is meant for L-6th grade students to help strengthen their math skills while still having fun!

Technical Component Used: Image sprites, Clock, Labels, Buttons, Audio, Text Box (User Input)


Closing Remarks


Each year the level of technical sophistication and depth of design that the students achieve in their apps is astounding & greater! 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. It boggles our minds that they do all of this in the span of 8 to 10 weeks!


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, Sara Garske, Ram Rao, Torit Tait, Megan Traver and Ali Monge for taking the time to judge at this year's showcase finale!


A special thank you to our partners: UC Irvine, Kay Family Foundation, Croul Family Foundation, Western Digital, Ties.com, El Pollo Loco, Luna Grill, Orange County Community Foundation, SparkFun Electronics, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified, Santa Ana Unified, Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove & Irvine Unified.


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