The new competition will still include competition streams focused on getting grade-schoolers to design their own games. Eligibility in this part of the competition has been expanded from last year's focus on middle school students to include a "high school stream" for 9th through 12th graders as well.
Specific prizes for this year's STEM Challenge will be announced once entries are officially opened in November, organizers said. Interested parties can sign up for updates on the STEM Challenge web site.
The STEM Challenge was created as part of the U.S. Department of Education's Digital Promise initiative to transform learning through technology, and last year's inaugural competition was launched by a presidential announcement.
Last year's STEM Challenge winners included professionally developed titles aimed at teaching children about the spread of bacteria, as well as student projects ranging from educational games to adventure titles.
"The National STEM Video Game Challenge is an extraordinary opportunity that encourages children across the country to pair lessons they've learned in science, technology, engineering and math with their imaginations and creativity," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.
The Challenge has the support of a team of corporate sponsors that includes AMD, Microsoft, the IGDA and the ESA, as well as philanthropic groups ranging from the American Library Association and the Girl Scouts to the George Lucas Educational Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.