Today we are going to get started using Scratch in order to use this tool with elementary students. While there are plenty of great videos created by the MIT Scratch team at scratch.mit.edu, we are going to go over the basics of using Scratch to draw with the pen tool. Feel free to create an account at scratch.mit.edu or feel free to use mine (I will make the credentials available in the classroom). Before we jump into the activity, first I would like to provide a bit of context.
Scratch is a programing environment developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten research group at the MIT Media Lab. The research group’s leader and LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, Mitchel Resnick, reminds us to honor the vision for child-centered computing that Seymour Papert advocated for with Scratch’s predecessor LOGO. Mitch extracts four essential elements from Papert’s Mindstorms (1980): projects, passion, peers, and play. You should read Mitch’s piece on these here:
In summary, children should be: working on projects that they are passionate about, working together with peers of varying experience providing constructive feedback, and doing so with a playful approach to testing out ideas and overcoming challenges. The reason I share all this before getting into my lesson is to remind everyone that this is one way to start learning Scratch, but should be learner-centered once the student has the basics. My hope is that that once you make a square and another shape, you start thinking of how to make something that interests you.
After trying the Start here challenge for a few minutes, we are going to have you work with a partner on the LessonHandout sheet that was passed out in class. You will also need a turtle (green triangle with a hole for a pen). As a team try to make the turtle follow the script on the handout by moving it around on the stage. Next, you will translate the script into your own words.