This is a Scratch course designed for primary school students and it is different from anything else out there, because it is designed for young children it takes into account their psychology, their attention span and their creative impulse. This IS NOT an outcomes based course, students are shown how various concepts work but they are constantly invited to create and innovate their own programs and solutions. Each tutorial is a catalyst for the student’s creative output rather than a blueprint to a pre-defined result. The end goal of this course is not the acquistion of a specific set of skills (though that will happen) but rather a mindset of seeing coding as a new means of expressing oneself.
Module 1: Basics
These tutorials are brief, straightforward and backed with answers. They are designed to quickly build up confidence and a skill base from which to build onwards. Students will learn to create, edit, move and animate sprites in a variety of ways. They will also learn to use variables to do basic mathematical operations.
Module 2: Open Ended Activities
Here we apply multiple concepts we learned in module 1 into an application and a couple of game based scenarios. Students are shown how to create basic game dynamics and scoring and then they are left to improve movement dynamics and create sound effects, animations. What they end up with is their own game and a sense of pride and ownership.
Module 3: Advanced Concepts
In this module students learn some more advanced concepts like: cloning, event messages and even basic recursion. All of this is done through game scenarios where cloning is essential to enabling our hero to shoot arrows, event messages are required to make the baddies disappear and recursion enables baddies to multiply making the game more challenging at higher levels.
Module 4: Complex Problems
In our final module there is no new theory, the challenge here is the greatest challenge facing anyone coding a real badass game: complexity. Getting an ever higher number of sprites with an ever higher number of attributes to work together seamlessly! Once students are comfortable managing more complex code they are ready to take on the world!
We should be ready to go in less than 5 minutes unless your internet is really slow, essentially you need to do two things to run scratch:
To see it all done in under 4 minutes watch this video:
In our first session we are going to learn about the motion block and how this is used to make the sprite move. Our first challenge is to take the Scratch cat on a tour of the Scratch space… use a sequence of the blue motion blocks to take the cat for a trip around the four corners.
Give it a good go and then check out the solution, there are LOTS of ways to solve this problem, did we use the same one?
Watch the video below and then open Scratch on your computer to complete challenge 1.
Challenge 2 introduces the use of the 'Pen' block while extending our understanding of how to move the Scratch cat around the stage. We begin by drawing a triangle and then move on to drawing a square which requires presents more of a challenge due to ist right angles.
Now that the Scratch Cat knows how to navigate the map, he aught to learn a trick or two. Lets get started with some colour changes and some musical notes.
Once you have your own solution, check out how we did it, we got rhythm.
In this session we are going to make our Scratch cat appear and disappear creating our first game. In order to do this we are going to use the data, sensing and operators blocks.
We will use the data to create a scoring system for our game. We will use the sensing block to find the cat and score points and the operators block to randomly move the Scratch cat around the screen.
Challenge 5 requires the use of orange Data and green Operators blocks to create a calculator that is capable of adding, subtracting, dividing and/or multiplying numbers
This is the first tutorial in Module 2 - Open Ended Activities.
To make animations and games in Scratch one mast first master the secrets of time! … and there is no better way to do this than to build yourself a time measuring machine.. otherwise known as a clock. Once you master clocks go ahead and try to create stopwatches and countdown timers …. and if you can a reaction game to test your reflexes!!
Randomness is a wonderful thing.. it adds the exciting unpredictability essential to great gaming… back in the days before computers all the best board games used dice and so here is your chance to learn how to create dice of your own.
In this Activity we introduce a second sprite onto the stage and create a game where one sprite chases the other. You can create a policeman chasing a thief, a shark chasing its dinner or even have a monster chasing you. The Chase Game encourages you to further explore game dynamics, introduce obstacles and a scoring system. Make sure you use the sound and look blocks to create a fun and visually appealing game to play. Let your imagination run wild.
This is the first tutorial in Module 3 - Advanced Concepts.
We are going to spend two tutorials on the game called Dodgeball. Your first challenge is to create a Dodgeball game which involves a sprite trying to avoid balls that move around the stage AND have the ability to randomly clone themselves. Its up to you how your sprite moves and how you score this game.
In this tutorial we learn how to help Pico defend himself against the balls and their clones. Using the broadcast function from the Event block we will provide Pico with the ability to shoot down the balls with some arrows.
This is an opportunity to optimize the game dynamics and making it more difficult as time goes on and importantly increasing the fun factor
This next challenge combines the coding skills learnt from the Hide and Seek Game and the Chasing Game challenges. The Star Collector challenge awards points to the Scratch cat every time it catches a star. The
difficulty is creating a scoring system that is accurate and fair.
How would you like to star in your own video game? The Sabre Slicer challenge is highly interactive game in which you are the main character. Using video motion and some clever coding you become an active participant in the game protecting the cute little fish from the hungry sharks.
Note that in order to complete this challenge you will need to have a working web cam.
The more you play the better you get and you will only improve if you make the game more difficult
In this challenge we explore ways to improve your gaming skills and ramp up the fun factor. By adding some clever visual and sound effects we can turn the basic Sabre Slice game into something awesome!
This is the first tutorial in Module 4 - Complex Problems.
The Maze Game challenge combines several gaming elements all occurring simultaneously. The game is set in a maze where the main character is a mouse whose objective is to find the cheese while trying to avoid two different kinds of opponents each posing a different kind of threat.
This tutorial provides a hints on how to create a maze in backdrops and move your sprite around this maze.
This tutorial provides hints on how to create opponents that move around the maze so that they pose a threat to the main character.
This tutorial provides a hints on how to link the difficulty of the game to the scoring system by increasing the speed of the opponents as the score increases.
Let's wrap it up with some final hints on how to improve your maze game by including great effects, adding clones,and introducing more difficult mazes as the game progresse
Sanjin is a teacher and a robotics engineer with a passion for teaching Coding and Robotics to school aged children. He has spent more than 5 years teaching various age groups in platforms like Scratch, Arduino, Python, Raspberry Pi and Lego Mindstorms.
He is presently working with over 20 schools in Melbourne to help them implement the Digital Technologies Curriculum in a meaningful manner. This means developing learning sequences that help students easily grasp the core concepts of coding and then setting them up with problems that involve higher level computational thinking and integration with various mathematical concepts.