Scratch Starter

Introduction

This guide is aimed at helping Teachers, Librarians, Parents and self-learners by providing learning and support resources for:

  • Scratch: simple visual drag and drop coding language designed for children
  • ScratchLink: Scratch programmable Robotics hardware including game controllers, experimenters and robots.

You will be able to:

  • Learn Scratch
  • Teach Scratch and utilise the many teacher resources either as class lessons or after school clubs or library engagement sessions
  • Utilise Units of work for Coding and Robotics based on Scratch and ScratchLink
  • Sequence, scaffold and differentiate your coding units with our resources rated for Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced with both Core and Extension level exemplars provided for every project

Do I need to buy Scratch-Link to get started?  No, the Scratch only units do not require any extra hardware.  Get started and move into physical computing and robotics with Scratch-Link etc later.


Scratch (MIT) Introduction

Scratch is the current version of the highly acclaimed educational visual programming language (VPL) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab.  It is designed as an easy and fun introduction to programming for kids 6-16 years of age.  Watch the Sractch Overview video below.

Software- Scratch Online

You can create scratch animations and programs using ScratchLink.codes Online through your browser.

Scratch programs created in the offline editor are interchangeable with the online editor- so this is an excellent feature that allows students to work on their projects from home or their device that can access ScratchLink.codes Online.

Online Help Resources

The Scratch Team have provided some printable pdf resources being the Getting Started Guide and a series of Scratch Cards, plus the following introduction to Scratch Video.

ScratchEd is an online community for Scratch Educators. Scratch Wiki contains a Scratch Reference Manual and other useful resources.  The main Scratch site also has a discussion forum.  However these are probably not necessary for educators to start delivering introductory Scratch Coding but are quite useful for complex or unusual projects.

It can be useful to get some ideas from other online Scratch users by exploring online projects or utilising Scratch Studio which s a collection of tutorials contributed by users.  Please take note that while other user’s online user projects and tutorials can sometimes be useful they are sometimes of limited usefulness and quality for classroom use.

Online Starter Projects

The Scratch website has lots of Starter Projects to work your way through.

Online Scratch Tutorials

The MIT Scratch Team have created a series of  useful Video Tutorials:

The Scratch Team have also produced a series of Video tutorials concerning creating backdrops and sprites using the Paint Editor

Class Tips for Scratch

Project Rating & Sequencing

ScratchLink.Codes online and all the resources provided on ScratchLink are suitable for learners from early Primary through to Middle School.  At the present time many different year levels are starting coding for the first time and will need to start at roughly the same place.  However the speed and depth of learning will vary greatly depending on the learner.  Rather than thinking of coding as a narrow set of procedural skills or knowledge it is better to focus on the underlying complex reasoning, analytical and communication skills as with other branches of science and maths.

ScratchLink.Codes could just be a tool to create simple animations, however, it is also a powerful tool for Project Based Learning (PBL) as is its extension into physical computing with ScratchLinks and robotics.  Using ScratchLink.Codes and PBL can have great learning outcomes and engaged classrooms for mainstream classes with a broad spectrum of types of learners at various levels.  However, it’s important to keep projects as concrete and cognitively simple as possible in the beginning and sequence coding concepts from beginner to advanced as in the tables below.  Differentiating for diverse levels and styles of learning is possible with appropriate scaffolding and exemplars.  PBL can be equally successful with concrete thinkers with low complex reasoning skills and abstract thinkers with high reasoning and communication skills.  The examples given below are to help educators plan learning experiences.  

All of the projects provided will utilise the learning and sequencing concepts listed below and rated from Beginner to Intermediate and then Advanced.  Furthermore, each Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced level project will also provide both Core Tasks and Extension Tasks.  Combined with our support resources and full exemplars this allows for appropriate scaffolding and differentiation to cater for a wide spectrum of learners in mainstream classes.