Bring coding into the classroom using Scratch (Part 4 of 4)
A Coding Kids club at a community hall in suburban Brisbane.
This is Part 4 in the 4-part blog series “Bring coding into the classroom using Scratch.”
In designing classes we will firstly look at designing a 1-hour class for Years 2-3 and followed by designing a class for Years 4-6.
Designing a 1-hour class for Years 2-3
The first four classes in the Introductory Level for Years 2-3 are based more around discovering and exploring new concepts and writing simple scripts. In the next four classes students are able to build simple games.
Discover and explain new concepts
Scratch projects can be used to explain new concepts.
- X and Y number lines (positive and negative numbers)
- Counting to 10 (using computer programming)
- Looping (repeat and forever)
- If (branching and decisions)
- Touching (touching colours and touching sprites)
- Events (hat blocks)
- Variables (storing numbers)
- Strings (using and processing text as data)
- Broadcasting messages
- Cloning objects
All of these projects are saved in the “Introducing Concepts” Studio and are useful in discovering computer programming concepts.
Exploring new concepts
We also use Scratch games to explore concepts.
Have a go at playing our “Coordinates & Movement” game. You move the cat to the right XY coordinates then click on the space bar to see if you are right. See if you can collect three stars.
Image: Xy coords game
If Statements & Operators
Play our “If Statements & Operators” game. You need to calculate what does ‘score’ need to be to make cat meow. Learn about if statements and operators. Careful, the more stars you earn, the harder the question.
Image: if & operators game
Play our “Variables” game to discover variables.
Applying concepts & creating games
We build simple games to apply our new knowledge. Some of these games are listed in the 8-week course outline for Years 2-3 e.g., Dance Party animation, Leap over the frog, Forest of Danger. Our Introductory Level games are saved here in this Scratch studio.
I start the class by demonstrating the game that we are going to build and allowing a few students to play the game. I ask the class, “Shall we build this game?” The class is hooked. Of course they want to build the game.
Designing a 1-hour class for Years 4-6
A 1-hour class designed for Years 4-6 students is focused on building a game in order to experience new competencies. Games such as those listed in the 8-week course for Years 4-6 are what we use to learn new computer programming concepts.
Similar to the class for Years 2-3 students, I start the class by showing a game, allowing a few students to play it and demonstrate how it works. I ask the students, “What are some extra features we can to this game?” The classes are great with coming up with new features. If they finish the game early they are encouraged to keep building the game and adding new features.
Here are some extra games and animations that you can use:
- Guess the secret code (costume number and strings)
- Land the Helicopter (with gravity effects)
- Shooting game (cloning)
- Magic 8-ball (Lists as data storage)
- Squash (bouncing off other sprites)
- Telling a joke (broadcast)
Classes are fun and engaging experiences when you capture the students attention with a demonstration of a computer game or an animation that you will build together and allow them to express their individuality and creativity. If you build a strong technical foundation this gives them the freedom to let their imagination run wild. Be open to mistakes. Learn to learn and you can never go wrong.
Discovering complex concepts in a fun and playful way.
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