Six games, curriculum on tap for Middle School Esports League
Minecraft, Fortnite and Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are all on the list of esports offerings available to middle schools this fall, which will undoubtedly bring smiles to the faces of young students across the country.
Generation Esports (GenE) unveiled its plans for the inaugural fall season in the Middle School Esports League that will include the above-listed games and three more popular titles, as well as opportunities for districts to add new esports curriculum into classes.
GenE, which also runs the popular High School Esports League, plans to launch the MSEL with a Fall Major esports tournament that will run for eight weeks starting on Sept. 21. Competitors will vie for supremacy in the three listed titles, as well as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Rocket League and Just Dance. Winning teams will earn gaming hardware, such as Nintendo Switches.
“We are very excited to carry over all of our accomplishments and learnings from operating North America’s largest high school esports organization and offer middle school students the same opportunities,” says Mason Mullenioux, co-founder and CEO of Generation Esports. “Whether students are eyeing a professional esports career or just love playing video games, the Middle School Esports League will help students excel not only in organized competition, but academically — creating opportunities to improve their skills, grades, and future prospects.”
The academic pieces will come courtesy of Dr. Kristy Custer and Michael Russell, educators from Complete High School Maize in Kansas. They are the creators of the much-utilized Gaming Concepts curriculum, which is being revamped for middle-school-age students to engage students in social-emotional learning (SEL) and digital citizenship through the lens of video games and esports.
“Middle school is often the time when school becomes challenging not only academically, but also socially for students,” Russell says. “All of a sudden, students no longer have one teacher and a built-in group of friends that they spend their days within the classroom. So many students struggle to find where they belong. The new curriculum will help middle school teachers bring esports into their classrooms where they can implement purposeful play with the social-emotional learning that is so desperately needed.”
Generation Esports says high school students who took Gaming Concepts courses saw an average of 1.4 points of GPA improvement and 95 percent or better attendance.
Those schools or competitors looking to play in the fall will be able to easily find time-slots and enter queues to arrange game play sessions with opponents for remote competitions, according to the organization. Registration for the MSEL Fall Major begins Aug. 24. Students, teachers, advisors, and existing esports clubs can register their teams here. Pricing for middle schools interested in joining MSEL begins at just $20 per student per tournament, with weekly Fortnite tournaments free to all students. Annual packages are available that include additional perks and are cheaper for growing programs.
For Title I schools looking to raise funds for league fees and/or esports-related equipment, GenE facilitates financial assistance through STEM grants and its partnerships with non-profit organization Varsity Esports Foundation (VEF) and fundraising service partner FundMyTeam.
Chris Burt is an editor and reporter for District Administration and the Program Chair for the Academic Esports Conference & Expo. He can be reached at email@example.com