How I Use It
I have used this in my lab with students in 3 - 5th grade. I began by using some of the tutorial lessons that are provided to get students oriented and able to create a simple animation. Next, I share with them a more elaborate Halloween animation, with motion, sound, and a background image from the internet. After showing them the product, I show them step-by-step the commands I used to create it. Students then recreate my animation, but many add their own variations. Better still, students will take the concepts I taught them and create their own animation. Scratch can be used up through Secondary School, so there are commands that are beyond what most Elementary students can use successfully, and are even beyond my own very limited programming threshold. But Scratch motivates students to learn more, dig deeper, and for some students it may open the door to accelerated learning.
Scratch is a highly engaging, open-ended, and interactive program that teaches the principles of computer programming in a student-friendly interface. It was created by a collaboration between elementary educators and MIT computer science scholars. Their goal was to create a programming interface that students would enjoy and learn from. They succeeded. Students as young as 3rd grade can create animated stories, and upper graders with help, can create video games. Students arrange color-coded commands in one area, and can see the result immediately in another. The best thing about Scratch is that students can post and share their creations with others. After admiring another student's production, a student can study how it was made and/or borrow and adapt code other students made. The other best thing about Scratch is that it is absolutely free.