Getting to Know Scratch
Today I started the process of teaching all of the freshmen at Ryan High School how to program games in Scratch using project 19 from our Big Book of Makerspace Projects.
I designed this project to be a hybrid between Pong and a chasing game. I was hoping that my instructions would teach kids how to make games, but also allow for a lot of personalization. AND IT DID! Instead of giving the explicit instructions from the book, I created “exploration” sheets based on the book so that students could explore Scratch to learn how to create games. I made them as Googledocs, but also offered the option of paper for the students who preferred it. (And surprisingly a lot of them preferred paper!)
I was so happy today that as soon as students started making games, they immediately came up with their own ideas of how they wanted each game to function.
- “Can I make the ball bounce off a paddle like pong?
- “How can I make a ghost that springs back and forth on the screen.”
- “I’d like to make a game where two players try to catch a basketball and then shoot hoops and score.”
- “Could I make apples fall from a tree to hit my sprite?”
- “I want to make four sprites like Scooby Doo characters that once one is out of the game the next one will play. How do I do that?”
- “Instead of dodgeball, can I make my character kick a soccer ball into a goal?”
- “Can my sprite fly?”
- “How can I program two players? Use the WASD keys?”
More to Come!
I loved all the hacking and personalization. Last year, I attempted a similar game instruction and it did not go as clearly as this one. I found that when students collaborated this year, they had more profound ideas on what to include in their Scratch games. However, if students worked alone, they were able to get further along in their programming.
I also had many native Spanish speakers that found the translation button in Scratch! It was so helpful for me, because I was able to teach these second language students how to program and I learned more Spanish to boot.
I have three more days of teaching Scratch before getting all of the freshmen at Ryan into the library for this coding practice. I can’t wait to see what they all create!
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