Scratch is an inherent programming language that makes it easy for children of all ages to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art, and share their creations on the web (Intro to Scratch from ScratchEd). In his TED Talk Mitch discusses the importance in teaching everyone to code, and introduces the new BETA version of Scratch called Scratch 2.0.
SCRATCH was developed by MIT for very young children to be able to program, but has been ear-marked as an elementary school products that is too simplistic for middle and high school students… but not any more!
The inherent SCRATCH programming interface is actually the key to 21st century education on the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. SCRATCH’s drag-and-drop blocks resemble MIT App Inventor interfaces for creating apps on Android Phones.
You are not type-type-typing code, you are creating visual structures for complex computer science functions that you can transfer the understanding into other programming languages.
Basic Ideas of Scratch:
ScratchEd was created for Educators to be able to learn how to use Scratch.
Getting started with Scratch:
You can also program physical robots with Scratch!
Robots are mechanical mobile devices with software programming and sensors, and SCRATCH and LEGO WeDos provide both!
A discussion you can have with your students is what makes a robot:
Directly plug in the LEGO WeDo USB to the computer with pre-loaded free SCRATCH, and the drag-and-drop robotics components will automatically appear in SCRATCH. If you have a motor raising and lowering, you need to put an interface on the screen to explain what is happening, and if the interface is interactive, we are hitting the core-level of robotics understanding that originally was going over student’s heads with LEGO Mindstorm NXTs because the software-hardware-interaction was not immediate. The robotic LEGO WeDo components that work in SCRATCH are a Distance Sensor, The Tilt Sensor, and a Rotating Motor.
The combination of elementary SCRATCH and elementary LEGO WeDo can tap the interest of all students from the elementary all the way to the high school level.