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Cupcake Abduction and the Developmental Value of Completing Projects

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I am a big fan of project-based education. It turns students into problem solvers. The sense of accomplishment in completing a project, reaching a distinct goal, is far greater than that provided by doing well on a quiz. The planning and time-management skills alone are as valuable as the knowledge acquired. Therefore, I strongly support initiatives such as the Project Management Institute's Education Foundation and efforts to convince the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to add a project management merit badge.

Recently, a colleague shared with me yet another example of the power for projects to motivate children. My colleague's 13-year-old son just released an iPhone game he began working on over the summer. The game, "Cupcake Abductor," involves playing an alien in a flying saucer who flies around trying to abduct cupcakes while avoiding an evil alien adversary who attempts to crash your ship.

Thumbnail image for Cupcake_Abductor_Screenshot

Getting this game to market involved setting up a company so he could get the game in the iTunes store as a minor (which his dad, obviously, had to help with) and learning the necessary programming languages for iOS devices and designing the game and graphics (which his dad couldn't have helped with if he wanted to). 

While it is impressive to me that a kid this age was motivated enough to learn and apply the technical skills necessary to develop a game and follow it through to completion, what most interested me, was how this experience affected my colleague's son. His son had never been a particularly motivated student. His grades weren't terrible, but they could have been better. Since completing the project, his motivation has skyrocketed and he is now one of the top-performing students in his school. 

I do not know whether his improved motivation and academic success is due to increased confidence, transferable skills learned while completing this project, or simply because he was motivated to get his school work out of the way so that he could get to doing what he really loved to do. All of these probably played some role. But I am convinced that being engaged in a challenging project on a subject that he had a passion for, which he saw through to completion, was the catalyst. 

Update (10/10/2011): Cupcake Abductor was featured in an article in the Washington Post.

Visit the Web site of Norri Games here:

To follow Norri Games on Facebook, visit:

To obtain the app for your iOS device, click on the AppStore icon below. 

Cupcake Abductor - Norri Games LLC

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This page contains a single entry by Paul C. Easton published on September 27, 2011 2:01 AM.

LPM Tidbit: Just Below the Law blog highlights E-Discovery Project Management as an Alternative Legal Career was the previous entry in this blog.

PMI Presents "How to Brainstorm to Create a Legal Project Plan" is the next entry in this blog.

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