The GAMES project aims to integrate strategy games and education programs to close the gender gap in STEM.
This project aims to establish a Girls Achieving in Mathematics, Engineering, Science (GAMES) program at the University of Tennessee (UT) to promote girls’ interest and self-efficacy in STEM using chess and other strategy games. We have chosen to focus on strategy games because they are great examples of effective and entertaining tools to teach metacognition, computational thinking, and problem-solving as well as more effective traits such as self-regulation. Women are significantly underrepresented in STEM disciplines. Initiatives that provide unique introductory STEM experiences for students are critical for the growth of female representation in STEM disciplines. Computational thinking, which focuses on concepts like sequences, abstraction, iterative thinking, and problem-solving, relates to chess and mathematical thinking. Activities that expose students to computational thinking can spark interest in seemingly dry or boring science topics, as well as help students learn skills that are applicable to other areas of their lives. Opportunities created by the GAMES program will allow girls to have first-hand experiences with STEM concepts in robotics and mathematics through chess.