Unreal Engine is **great **for most levels (including middle school) given they have access to usable hardware and are supported with learning resources.
Be sure to check our Hardware and Software Specifications Page to ensure student machines are up to spec. https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/GettingStarted/RecommendedSpecifications/
If you are looking for a text book for use in-class, I recommend “Sams Teach Yourself Unreal Engine 4 Game Development in 24 Hours” by Aram Cookson, Clinton Crumpler, Tim Johnson. This is currently the only UE4 book reviewed by Epic and would make for a good in-class book.
Additionally, below is a list of both paid and non paid UE4 beginning level curriculum that could be helpful from a variety of sources. I have listed a series of links from Epic’s own website where we teach how to assemble games in UE4 from internally developed video series.
Also you will find links to a variety of paid courses that are well done and mostly beginning level material. Most of the paid courses are fairly affordable and quite in depth.
Then I have also linked a bunch of free youtube.com community learning channel playlists from folks that post their tutorials online for free. Most of these are basic enough and cover the core principles of working in UE4 well enough for most to get a well rounded grasp of the fundamentals.
**Free Unreal Engine Courses:
· Twin Stick Shooter
· 3rd Person Power-Up Game with C++
· 2D Sidescroller with Blueprints
· Endless Runner with Blueprints
· Unreal Match 3 Game
Free UE4 Community Youtube.com Learning Channels:
· Unreal Engine 4 Beginner Tutorials
· Mathew Wadstein Tutorials
· Leo Gonzales Unreal Basics
· Tesla Dev Tutorials
· UE4 Style Guide
Free UE4 Community Blueprints:
· Blueprints Communication Training - Zak Parrish
· Blueprints Compendium - VOLUME II
· Network Compendium
Free UE4 Community VR Learning Channels:
· Mitch’s VR Labs
· Unreal Engine VR Curriculum
Free UE4 Community ArchViz Learning Channels:
· Architectural Visualization Tutorials
**Paid Elearning Courses:
· Unreal Engine 4: The Complete Beginner’s Course
· Learn to Code in C++ by Developing Your First Game
· Complete Introduction to Unreal 4
· Unreal Essential Training - Lynda.com
This is all great stuff and would be good for grade levels with students that are self motivated and engaged.
Hope it helps.