Scratch - Computer programming as part of a curriculum


What it is:


Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.

As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.


Where to get it:

Installers available for Windows/OSX/Ubuntu
Network .msi installer for Windows

License:

Free of charge - to download, copy and use - as many copies as you want.
Free to use in class - and for students to download at home.
All projects and materials are released under a Creative Commons "Attribution - Share Alike" license.

Scratch is about creating - but very much about sharing/remixing - and learning/connecting from others.

What I did...


Scratch installed onto our Macbook image - available to all users.
Taught in enrichment groups - 12-15 Year 6 students. Six 90 minute sessions.

Downloaded and had a play myself - read Scratch 1.4 Reference site. Explored Scratch projects and read Scratch Ed Forums
ScratchEd Resources site is fantastic - pdfs,ppts, lesson sequences to learn from.
Intentionally didn't try to teach myself every part of it - wanted to be a learner alongside students.

Used a range of resources from ScratchEd, including videos and printed task cards.

Some examples:

Getting Started PDF
Redware Scratch Lesson Plans - Site with guided lesson process - based on a course of six sessions.
Youtube Scratch Channels
Youtube videos with Scratch tutorials, howtos and walkthroughs.

Introduced students to interface, basic sets of blocks, howto connect and make simple sequences.
Allowed students to explore constantly.
Gave time to create - using same sets of blocks for 10-15 minutes - then had students walk around and check out others work.
Students given a lot of self-directed time - teacher roving, checking. Worked for some - but not all....
Storing projects/work on students drive and/or USB.

Idle Thoughts - What I'd do differently
  • Select a range of simple projects to show students - have available on shared server.
  • Students sometimes went only to "big" games - very complex programming - need to encourage small steps.
  • Setup individual accounts for students on ScratchEd for interested ones - allow them to learn from Scratch forums/users.
  • Share their programming/projects on school wiki ...
  • Encourage explicit planning for use of Scratch in literacy/math/inquiry topics...
  • Extension lessons/opportunities for keen students
  • Explore using other options like Alice
  • Use Computer Science Unplugged

ZP to share.

QUESTIONS: Please enter any thoughts/queries/ideas here...