I’m continuing to teach my 4th and 5th graders in STEM class about coding and how to create projects using Scratch software. Last week students got started with coding using tutorials on Code.org. For our first lesson of this week students completed the “Step-by-Step Intro” to Scratch. I recorded a screencast of the instructions for this project on Monday night, and added it to my Scratch curriculum page. (I doubled the speed of the video in this screencast, but added a “normal speed” voiceover afterwards.
Today students remixed “starter projects” linked from the main Scratch Help page. Some students in every class wanted to immediately start remixing Flappy Bird, but I had them begin with the starter projects so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed. It’s valuable to look at the code (“look inside”) for Scratch projects like Flappy Bird, and I encouraged my students to both play and look at that code later, but for starting Scratchers it’s pretty overwhelming to try and read and understand… much less “remix.”
As an example in class, I created a remix of the “5 Random Facts About Me” project. I introduced students to some of the basic drawing and painting tools and techniques in Scratch through this project demo. I like how the web-based Scratch 2.0 platform now supports both vector and bitmap graphics, and lets you convert between them within the program. After clicking the “green flag” to start this Scratch project, press the space bar to advance to the next slide.
I invited students to remix any of the starter projects. Some chose the same project I showed, like 4th grader, Paige. She did a nice job with her illustrations, especially the mouse-drawn outline of Alaska. Impressive! (Same as previous instructions: Green flag to start, space bar to advance)
4th grader, Ben, opted to remix a basic maze game, and successfully created a 2nd level to the game. He was VERY excited to do this! (Click the green flag to start, then use arrow keys to navigate the maze levels.)
I found it handy to create a “class Scratch account” so students who had not yet created a Scratch account at home with their parents (with a parent’s email address) could still remix and save projects.
Scratch rocks! It’s free, and it runs on any Windows, Apple or Linux computer. If you teach in an iPad classroom, it looks like “ScratchJr” will be coming to iOS thanks to this Kickstarter campaign. For now (and later this year) my students will be learning to code on our iPads using HopScotch. If you haven’t already, download a free copy of my eBook, “HopScotch Challenges.” I’ll be updating it later this month.
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