Alice, a computer programming software from Carnegie Mellon University, is an exciting educational find for high schoolers and college age students (I think most tech-savvy middle schoolers are bright enough for this, too!)
Carnegie Mellon can certainly explain the program better than me. The following is from the Alice.org site:
Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. It allows students to learn fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies and simple video games.
How to Learn More:
Promotional Videos on what Alice is and how to use it.
How to Get This Freebie : Visit Alice