Using Scratch in the Classroom: Five Ideas

Are your students interested in the “Maker Movement,” a growing community of DIY tech enthusiasts who are applying creative skills to create everything from robots to printers using free software and Web-based tools?
MIT’s Scratch lets junior programmers and aspiring “makers” ages eight and up create video animations, games, interactive stories, digital instruments and more. Instead of requiring technical coding, the free Scratch tool uses color-coded bars that are placed in an interlocking command sequence. Currently, Scratch is available for Mac, Windows and Linux via the Scratch Web site.
Scratch is great for all student levels, both beginner and advanced. Keep in mind, however, that the tool is best used by educators who have at least a basic programming background. This is especially true when fielding student questions or helping those who are struggling with project execution.
The five fun classroom activities below are perfect for any tech-savvy teacher who’d like to encourage students to apply programming skills.
Determine the story’s ending.
Most younger students adore choose-your-own-adventure books. This activity brings that concept to the computer screen. Have students outline, write, design and animate their own adventures with multiple outcomes. They can even craft a game in which outcomes depend on positive character and good decision-making.