MIT's Scratch is one of my favorite ways to introduce students to programming. I have used it in projects over the last 8+ years in after school classes, digital art classes and extensively in my computer science classes (part of the CSTEM program). I have used Scratch with 4th-6th graders, and they love it.
One of the biggest reason to use Scratch, is community. Students can share and learn from people around the world (10? million projects and counting are online), and teachers can learn from the vast supportive teacher community that shares lesson plans and best practices. It comes with sound research and pedagogy from MIT. Some other reasons to use Scratch are below under 'Why Scratch'
Some of my own lessons / projects that I have used in my classes
- Making Patterns - simple first project
- Catch the Fish game
- Building Math games
- Programming through art : ( A set of my projects that can be done in order as a 6+ week class for any age level.
- Teachers please email me for detailed lesson plans on my 6+ week curriculum in Scratch 2.0)
- Coding in Math Class
My Scratch FAQ for use with students (answers to some common questions)
Some recommended resources to learn more on Scratch for teachers
- Scratch Help page - check the starter projects, help videos.
- ScratchEd :the best starting point for teachers, it has everything you need including stories, lessons, tips from teachers from all over the world.
- NEW and updated! Scratch Curriculum guide from the Harvard Scratch Ed team. http://scratched.gse.harvard.edu/guide/
- Exploring Computer Science project-based, inquiry based curriculum in use in high schools in LA, Chicago and more uses Scratch. See Scratch 1.4 files used in the curriculum here
- There are many resources from the Creative Computing Online Workshop Summer 2013:
- Here is one of my favorites http://scratchables.blogspot.com/
- Scratch wiki
- Harvey Mudd's Scratch Course - MyCS uses Scratch https://www.edx.org/course/mycs-computer-science-beginners-harveymuddx-cs001x
- Google CS First http://www.cs-first.com/
Already know Scratch? Try Debugging some code
Good starter set of Debug activities created by Scratch Ed team
Other debug activities from the CSTA 2013 workshop by the ScratchEd Team
- Pong (http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/11413907/)
- The paddle doesn't follow my mouse pointer the way I expect.
- The ball should stop when it hits the strip of red at the bottom of the screen!
- Hide and Seek (http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/11413999/)
- Gobo should move around the stage, rather than always appearing in the same spot!
- The score should decrease by 1 when I click on something other than Gobo.
- Maze (http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/11414041/)
- The orange ball shouldn't be able to go through the walls.
- A new level should appear when the orange ball reaches the green goal.
Explore Scratch 2.0 new features
(from the CSTA 2013 workshop by the ScratchEd Team)
- How does the camera feature work?
- Example projects: http://scratch.mit.edu/studios/201435/
- How does cloud data work?
- Example projects: http://scratch.mit.edu/studios/202852/
- How does "Make a Block" work?
- Example projects: http://scratch.mit.edu/studios/201424/
- How does cloning work?
- Example projects: http://scratch.mit.edu/studios/201437/
- Community! Community! Community! Encourages, sharing, remixing and learning.
- Open, and really Free
- Years of research from MIT
- Used in schools, clubs and more for 5+ years
- 3 million+ projects to learn from
- Free shared resources from teachers across the world
- Vector graphics, sound editing - inspires original creations
- Interfaces with Lego WeDo and other hardware
- Multi-lingual support - remix projects made in a different language