How I Use It
I used scratch with my 5th grade students last year in collaboration with their science course. I began by going over the very basics of computer programming and then their assignment was to use scratch to present what they learned about the planet they were studying. In the past, the science teacher had assigned them to create a brochure with the required information. In using scratch, they were able to make the experience interactive with animations (rotation of the planet, etc), quizzes, and whatever creative idea they could come up with to express themselves.
Created by the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a free open source tool that teaches introductory computer programming aimed at kids. Using colorful blocks, students learn the basics of programming by fitting them together and seeing the immediate results of their actions. Within minutes of demonstrating, you can have 1st graders moving their cat across the screen. Through cause and effect, they are able to create stories, games, animations, and more. Scratch promotes problem solving skills, creativity, storytelling, and math skills. There are endless possibilities for the uses of Scratch in the classroom from having students present science concepts in an interactive format, to creating and playing math games, to narrating about a topic they learned in history class. In turn, teachers can create activities for students to learn from such as interactive diagrams and mazes. The website includes an excellent teacher resource called ScratchEd, which includes forums for teachers to share how they have been able to use Scratch to enhance their curriculum.