Advanced mathematics concepts of calculating motion, graphing velocity, or predicting a series of actions are foundational in computer science. But lacking knowledge of trigonometry or calculus shouldn’t be a barrier for high schoolers who want to explore their creative expression in the digital age.
Livable Wage Jobs (LWJ) is eliminating obstacles to broaden access and untangle the traditional approach that links completion of higher-level mathematics to in-demand computational thinking. The idea that every student should have access to high-quality, rigorous CS courses is the centerpiece of a new LWJ collaboration with Downey Unified School District (CA), Open Source Downey, which developed the Open Education Resource, Creative Commons- licensed book Mathematics for Game Developers. The resource provides detailed activities to integrate concepts of algebra, trigonometry and calculus into sequenced Career Technical Education programming and game development pathways for middle and high school students.
Funded by the CA Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office Strong Workforce Program, the initiative supports students who may struggle with higher-level math, offering leading edge guidance in networking and game design instruction that engages students to explore the depths of the internet and network protocols. Increasing access and ongoing interest in CS is a core principle of the project, which seeks to open doors for more female and underrepresented minority students. Just 23% of students enrolled in Advanced Placement CS courses in U.S. high schools are female, and young women who complete the courses are 10 times more likely to major in a computing discipline in college than peers who take no CS course. Black and Hispanic students participating in AP CS coursework are seven times more likely to continue in a related field in college (Code.org, 2021).
With Mathematics for Game Developers, students build confidence through the integration of complex computational concepts, focusing on the logic of gaming and principles of movement to ensure the rigor of instruction alongside the hands-on work of creating a game, moving a character, and conveying game interactions.
Follow this link for the Mathematics for Game Developers publication. Example modules may be found here. Learn more about LWJ OER tools to support student engagement in CS, including hands-on activities for Year 1 of C# and Unity, and Year 2 with C++ and Unreal Engine, at OER4CTE.org.