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- Scratch is a free, introductory programming language for kids eight and up. Scratch 2.0 runs in a Flash-enabled web-browser; previous versions run natively on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and the Raspberry Pi.
- ScratchEd, a site for educators using Scratch
- Scratch Curriculum – 20 1 hour lessons to teach Scratch to a class
- Scratch: Programming For All – article explaining the big ideas behind Scratch.
Snap! (formerly “Build Your Own Blocks”)
- Snap!, an advanced variation of Scratch (which works on the iPad, by the way)
See the Beauty and Joy of Computing, a computer science curriculum developed at Berkely, using Snap!
- Enchanting is a Scratch mod for programming LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots.
In the Real World
Enchanting, of course, works with LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots, and, for power users, it can also talk to Scratch (v1.4) programs!
Get Your Feet Wet
- Make an interactive Christmas card following the hour of code instructions (an initiative started by code.org).
- Start a new Scratch project and follow the tips.
- Find some existing Scratch projects (like these) and click on ‘see inside’. (If you like, modify the code, or create a remix of it!)
- Especially if you are using an older version of Scratch, do try the Scratch Cards.
- Search the site for different things of interest, and check out the fora.
- Do note that most of the documentation for Scratch is for version 1.4, not the new 2.0 version.
- 40 Math Shapes Challenges
- Additional challenges and even more.
Please note that not all programs work on all robots. (You can hardly tell a driving robot to move its legs, or ask a robot without a colour sensor what colour it sees!) Also, many that do need to be adapted or reconfigured. For instance, if you have an ultrasonic sensor on port 4, and it expects one on port 1, you need to change where the program thinks the sensor is plugged in, or you need to change where the sensor is actually plugged in on the physical robot, so that the two match.
- Enchanting Cards are a great way to get started. They have a simple program and indicate what it’ll do. Try them out on your robot!
- Enchanting includes several sample programs. Choose File -> Open and click on “Examples” to try them out.
- Try out this step-by-step interactive book with videos on Enchanting from Monash University in Australia. [Note that the iBook takes a long time to download.]
- These are several video tutorials, some for older versions, on the Enchanting site.
- (You could also try to modify existing Scratch projects and try to run them on the robots).
More Robotics Resources
Please see my previous article, Robotics Resources . Note that “local” means near Cardston (or in the extended Lethbridge area).
- LUMACS is an outreach group at the University of Lethbridge that teaches Scratch and robotics.
- The University of Alberta offers a course called EDIT 486/EDPY 597- Interactive Multimedia: Video Gaming for Teaching and Learning for people going into teaching or working towards a Master’s Degree.
- There is a Computer Science Teachers Association of Alberta and then put on PD events in Calgary.
Even More Resources
- ScratchScience – articles on developing a Scratch science curriculum.
- Scratch Studio – Science! – projects demonstrating science in Scratch.
- Free Games created with Scratch
- Computer Science Unplugged – teach CS principals without computers
- Computer Science for Fun!
More Things To Mention
Scratch is used in Universities! For example, they use it at the University of Lethbridge, the University of Alberta, Harvard (Scratch for Budding Computer Scientists), Berkely (Beauty and Joy of Computing), and elsewhere.
Some universities are accepting a high school computer science course as a science prerequisite (on par with biology, chemistry, or physics), and I believe some are thinking of accepting knowledge of a computer programming as knowledge of a second language.