The Alice Challenge invites middle and high school students to create 3D animations, engaging games, or immersive experiences using the Alice programming environment. Alice helps students develop technical skills and encourages them to explore their creativity, all while making something meaningful. Entries will be judged by real game designers and industry experts. Subscribe to updates about the Alice Challenge here.

We held our innaugural challenge in the Pittsburgh area for the 2017-18 school year.  We were very excited by the response and engagement.  We are happy to offer the challenge in the Pittsburgh area again this year.  We are hoping to find partners to offer the challenge in other geographic areas so please check back to see if one is available near you or contact us if you are interested in trying to host one.  A short promotional presentation can be found here explaining the benfits of running an Alice challenge that can also be used to pitch the idea and build excitement for running an Alice challenge.  We have also created planning documents and templates that can be used to help plan and manage your own competition.  Whether you want to host a large or small challenge you can make use of these materials to craft a challenge that suits you.  Review these suppoorting materials here!  

Inaugural Challenge a Success!

Thank you to all of the students who submitted to the Alice Challenge!

We received submissions from over 70 students as part of the inaugural Alice Challenge. Students in grades 5 – 12 residing in the Pittsburgh region submitted Alice projects as entries to the Animation, Game, or Good Neighbor competition categories described below

Thank you to everyone who took part!  We are grateful to all of the students, educators, partners and volunteers for making this an amazing inaugural event.  Read more about the first challenge here and take a look at all of the amazing work created!

Pittsburgh Regional Challenge Announced!

Competition Categories and Prizes

To enter the competition, students can use Alice 2 or Alice 3 to create projects for one of the competition categories:

Animation

Put on your director’s cap and start storyboarding! Animations in Alice use the scene builder, camera placements/moves, functions, and procedures to create an explorable virtual world or tell a story. If you want to tell an original tale, create your own interpretation of a classic story, or create an immersive environment full of mysteries and magic, this category is for you.

Games

Sure, winning games is fun, but have you tried building games? In Alice, you can use procedures, functions, and event listeners to build a game that lets users interact with the characters and objects in a scene to win, lose, learn, and play. Whether you want to create your own version of a game you love or think through the dynamics of a completely new game, this category let’s you decide how the game is played. Games can be of any genre—driving, quiz, puzzle, whatever you can make with Alice.

Good Neighbor

Fred Rogers once said that “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” If you want to be a hero, or help people find the hero in themselves, then the Good Neighbor category is for you. Inspired by television personality and native Pittsburgher Fred Rogers’ legacy, this category is about creating experiences for social good—experiences that encourage kindness and responsibility, and help people see their own value in the world. Entries can be Alice animations, games, or whatever you can imagine.

All finalists will receive Alice stickers and apparel and swag from Carnegie Mellon University. More prizes to come! Check back here for updates.

Educator Workshops

Do you want to bring the Alice Challenge to your classroom or learning space? Teachers and out-of-school educators are encouraged to sign up for free training workshops to learn how to use Alice with your students and support their participation in the competition:

  • Training Dates To Be Announced Soon!

We are actively looking for training partners.  If you would like to plan a training for your colleagues or staff, please contact us and we’ll find a way to get you trained.

Eligibility & Rules
  • The Alice Challenge is open to all students in grades 5-12 in Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties.
  • Both in-school and out-of-school programs may participate in the Alice Challenge.
  • Students under 18 must have their parent or legal guardian’s permission to participate in the Challenge.
  • All participating students must be sponsored by an adult. Sponsors may be teachers, administrators, librarians, home-school educators, out-of-School educators, after-school educators, mentors, coaches, or parents.
  • Students may participate as an individual, or in a team of up to four individuals. Each member of the team must satisfy the eligibility requirements. Each team must designate a “Team Leader” to serve as representative for all Challenge-related communications.
  • Applicants may submit one entry per category (for a maximum of three submissions) to the Alice Challenge, either as an individual or team applicant. Each entry must be a separate project and one entry can not be submitted to multiple categories.
Challenge Criteria

Student submissions will be judged in two divisions, a Middle Division for students in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8 and an Upper Division for students in grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. If a team includes a mixture of Middle Division and Upper Division students, Carnegie Mellon in its discretion will determine in which division the team will be judged.

Animation Criteria

Animations can be linear or interactive narratives that tell a story or build an environment. Entries to the animation category will be judged on:

  • Creativity: How unique is the story that is being told or the approach of the presentation?
  • Visual Presentation: How immersive is the world that has been created? How complex or impactful is the flow of the visual representation, camera movements, and general composition?
  • Technical Implementation: How complex is the technical implementation? Does the entry make use of programming concepts to simplify or structure the project? Is the code commented making it easy to understand? Does the entry make use of audio or other features?

Game Criteria

Games can be of any genre such as a driving game, quiz game, or whatever you can make. All games must have a goal for player interaction. Entries to the games category will be judged on:

  • Creativity: How unique is the game theme or mechanics?
  • Visual Presentation: How immersive is the world that is created? How aligned is the visual presentation with the theme and game mechanics?
  • Technical Implementation: How complex is the technical implementation? Does the entry make use of programming concepts to simplify or structure their project? Is the code commented making it easy to understand? Does the entry make use of audio or other features?

Good Neighbor Criteria

Inspired by the legacy of Fred Rogers, this category is about creating experiences for social good. Entries can be animations, games, or whatever you can imagine. Entries to the Good Neighbor category will be judged on:

  • Creativity: How unique is the approach to addressing the social issue?
  • Visual Presentation: How immersive is the world that is created? How aligned is the visual presentation with approach to addressing the social issue?
  • Technical Implementation: How complex is the technical implementation? Does the entry make use of programming concepts to simplify or structure their project? Is the code commented making it easy to understand? Does the project make use of audio or other features?
  • Impact Potential: How well articulated is the approach to the issue and how much potential is there for the entry to achieve its goals?

Finalists in all divisions and criteria will be reviewed by a panel of industry experts to determine the final challenge winners.

What is Alice?

Alice is a free block-based programming environment that makes it easy to create animations, build interactive narratives, or program simple games in 3D.

What is the Alice Challenge?

The Alice Challenge invites middle and high school students in the Pittsburgh region to create 3D animations, engaging games, or immersive experiences using the Alice programming environment.

Who can participate?

The Alice Challenge is open to all students in grades 5-12 in Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. Both in-school and out-of-school programs may participate in the Alice Challenge. Students under 18 must have their parent or legal guardian’s permission to participate in the Challenge and all participating students must be sponsored by an adult. Participation in the Alice Challenge is subject to the Alice Challenge Terms of Use.

What if I live outside of the geographic boundaries of the competition?

We are limiting entries to the Pittsburgh and surrounding area so that we can best support the teachers and students participating in this inaugural challenge. We hope that in the future we can take what we learn from this challenge and provide support for broader participation. We are happy to support efforts to host their own version of the Alice Challenge in their school or area. Contact us and let’s talk about it!

Who can sponsor a team?

Teachers, administrators, librarians, home-school educators, out-of-School educators, afterschool educators, mentors, coaches, and parents.

Not represented here? Please contact us.

How can I learn to use Alice with my students?

The Alice Project is hosting free training sessions for teachers and out-of-school educators from October 2018 through March 2019. (Act 48 continuing education credits available!)

If you are unable to attend a scheduled training our would like to plan a separate training for your colleagues or staff, please contact us and we’ll find a way to get you trained.

How much does it cost?

It’s free! Free training is available to all participating educators. The Alice software is available to download for free. The student workshop event is free and open to the public. There is no entry fee to submitting to the competition.

Why Alice?

A lot of tools and platforms for learning computer programming are either creative and 2D or 3D and puzzled based. For many students 2D just isn’t as engaging, while most of the 3D options limit students’ ability to really explore the technology.
Alice helps students learn logical and computational thinking skills and fundamental principles of programming by creating 3D animations, interactive narratives, or simple games. It's the perfect environment for students to start getting hands-on with computer science while simultaneously exploring their own creativity.
Alice is great for engaging different students with poor math or CS skills in the process through the storytelling and creative approach. But it’s a very serious learning platform too. Alice has been proven to:

  • Engage more women and diverse students in the learning process through the storytelling and creative approach.
  • Improve retention and performance of students with poor math or limited cs skills.
  • Improve future performance in Java course by up to a whole letter grade when scaffolding between Alice and Java is used in the classroom.
Thank you

Support for the Alice Challenge is provided by:

Award Sponsors
BirdBrain Technologies
City of Asylum
Duolingo
Games Unlimited
 
KANO
Looking for Group
Makey Makey
Merge VR
CMU