How to Use Scratch in the Classroom

How To Use Scratch Coding In The Classroom

 

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” –Philip Pullman

One of the coolest ways to use Scratch is using it as a story telling presentation tool. As Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi are ubiquitous in almost every classroom, Scratch offers our our students (and adults!) to create interactive stories, games and animations.  This is a great way for our students to show their understanding of a unit/topic by having them tell a story through coding. Awesome!

Scratch is an amazing web-based animation coding app that some of our teachers are requiring to use instead Keynote/Powerpoint/Prezi for student presentations. Interestingly, Harvard University and U.C. Berkeley use SCRATCH in their introductory Computer Program courses to visually teach coding as it reduces potential student errors with SCRATCH’s drag and drop feature. And its really fun with our students.

Check out UC Berkeley’s video with Code.org on why they chose to use SCRATCH:

 

Our school’s 5-6th Middle Form Dean, Talbot Moore, has his students use Scratch instead of above mentioned presentation tools. The objectives were to learn how to tell the story of the hunter/gatherer lifestyle of the Hadza people from Tanzania through “if-then”statements/coding.

Below you will find this SS unit’s Coding and Content Requirements. 

Coding Requirements (75%)
  • One Tour Guide (sprite)
  • An African Savanna background that includes 5 different “actors”
  • Tour guide must ask 5 questions of the viewer.
  • Tour guide must introduce and explain other actors (environment)
  • Include 3 or more sound elements that is related to the African Savanna
  • Have an actor move and interact with another actor
  • Include directions for the viewer using Notes
Content Requirements (25%)
  • Choose and Place Background – African Savanna
  • Appropriate Stone Tool – Examples – Spear, Bow and Arrow, etc.
  • Shelter, where does your character live?
  • Introduce your family group (no more than five members)
  • Obtaining food – What does your character eat?  How does s/he get it
I assisted Mr. Moore in grading the technical coding part. It would be obvious if the students showed the required code in their presentations.  For the most part, it was very easy to grade. Just make sure your computer’s volume and microphone works!In the next step, the students each had to present their project to the whole class. To prep them before giving thier presentations, Mr. Moore had his students watch and reflect on the video below where it breaks down the science behind stage fright and how to overcome it.  The students appreciated this video as it did give very good advice on how to relax and give a strong presentation.
So, what’s next?  We encourage you to take note of how Talbot required his students to use Scratch to tell a story and demonstrate understanding of the required topic content.  Instead of using the same old bulletpoints and fancy transitions, let’s get coding. The students were ALL EXCITED to do it this way. How crazy is that?!
Please connect with me on any questions on using Scratch in your classrooms!
UPDATE:  I just connected with our SHB MF Religion teacher, Carlo Fiatarone, and planned out his 7th graders do a similar project but on the topic of MIRACLES! So cool!
 
Please follow and like us:

Fred Jaravata

Fred is a K-12 Educational Innovation Consultant with over 18 years of leadership and teaching experience.

Leave a Reply