How I Use It
I have and continue to use Scratch with elementary and middle school students in my technology classes, after school clubs and summer camps. Students are excited to be able to create their own video games. Starting with a simple game like a maze is helpful and allows students to learn the basics before deciding on their own, more complex idea.
Scratch is incredibly popular among elementary and middle school students and allows them to show their creativity using a digital coding tool. It is completely free through the website, but is also available as a downloadable offline editor. I wish it were the same on an iPad, however. There is a Scratch Jr app for the iPad, but it’s very different; the iPad app is geared towards K-2, while the Scratch website is for older students.
With both formats, students learn the basics of coding (including loops, conditional statements and procedures) in an easy-to-use way while creating animations and games. I find my students enjoy saving the games on the website and playing with (and showing them off to) their friends anytime.
Across the curriculum, students can create animations to show their understanding of various topics. For example, students can use pictures of moons to show the different phases of the moon. They can use Scratch’s library of characters and objects or upload their own from an Internet search.