The Game-a-thon Challenge, is an annual challenge where K-12 students design and build their own math games, and then share a video of their game for the rest of the world to see.

I started as a User Experience Designer and quickly grew to the Project Lead for the initiative:

  • Website for viewing information and submissions
  • Worksheet packets for class projects
  • Workshops to teach kids the fundamentals of game design
  • Booth at annual Math Fair for communities to participate together
  • Community relationship-building to cultivate volunteers and advocates
Building the Initiative
The Game-a-thon started as a simple project to get kids to build math games. I was asked to join the project, based on my experience building a similar campaign with Caine's Arcade / Imagination Foundation. The Game-a-thon became a huge success that now recurs annually, but had very humble beginnings.

We started planning out the entire ecosystem of the Game-a-thon initiative, including the Website/Submission Form, Rules of the Challenge, and Live Design Workshops.

Website Development
The website was key to the experience as the primary touchpoint for participants. I used a combination of Flow Diagrams, Task Analysis, Red Routes Analysis, Wireframes, and Mockups to make sense of the full process.

Task Analysis helped us understand and talk about the web-based touchpoint of the Game-a-thon experience, making sure we were thinking through all the possibilities.


Hi-fi Mockups of the website were made and submitted for coding.

Usability Testing
I conducted continual Usability Tests before launch, and after each year to look for ways to improve the experience.

Red Route Analysis helped identify the most used and sought-after features to ensure those received primary attention.


A Mental Model aggregated the feedback from test participants, giving us a clearer picture of the types of concerns and thoughts our users had.

Workshops & "Starter Kit"
The growth of the Game-a-thon required touchpoints and promotion beyond just the challenge, so we developed workshops to teach students about Game Design principles. The workshop acted as a test for our downloadable "Starter Kit", which would empower teachers to run their own independent workshops.

I lead a workshop with students at the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, CA, where we did a 45-minute session of learning the different steps of designing their own games and understanding what "learning goals" are.

Booth Experience
To promote the Game-a-thon, we also created a booth at our annual Math Fair event. Over 1,000 people attended at the first event in Irvine, CA and the second in Chicago, IL. The booths featured a wide range of recycled materials, game-building workshops to teach students about the math behind the games, and digital game stations to introduce younger students to programming.

At the booth, kids were able to design and build their own games with materials gathered from a variety of craft and recycled material facilities.


Small workshops gave select groups of kids the opportunity to design and build games within the structure of our Starter Kit. This also served as an additional live-usability-test of our Starter Kit.

Project Complete!