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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Computer Programming with SCRATCH from MIT

Computer Programming with SCRATCH from MIT

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Last year I introduced my third grade class to the MIT program called SCRATCH. It is a wonderful tool to teach the basics of computer programming and see the real world application of Math. They loved it and mastered the basics very quickly. By the end of the year they were creating their own animations and posting them to the MIT site. The excitement was catching and several of the students became "SCRATCH MASTERS" training other students throughout the school. Next month a few of my students will be presenting a workshop to teach teachers how to use the program. I have been teaching for 30 years; I am a Constructivist and from experience I know Project Based Learning works. But the profound success of SCRATCH amazed us all. It was so great to see an entire class engaged, working in teams, troubleshooting and most of all paying close attention to detail. If they are not really careful with the numbers the program won't work! So they had to check and re-check and they happily did! I highly recommend making the connection, this year we are beginning to train students in first grade.

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Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

I heard a lot of folks talking about SCRATCH this weekend at Educon- do you think it's something I could do with my own child at home, ince Im not sure if i can get his teachers interested in it?

Charles J Theisen Jr's picture

New to this site, I'll be searching on SCRATCH to find out about it. My 3rd grade grandson has competed as a team member in a robotic programming contest set up by LEGOS and I would like to build on this interest. Is SCRATCH suitable for a very bright 3rd grader?

Julie Altmark's picture
Julie Altmark
Elementary Gifted Ed. teacher in Birmingham, AL

I have used Scratch with 4th graders, and they caught on very quickly. It's a free download. You can also look for education resources... there are many helpful ones online that are free. Here's a tutorial with 10 videos & accompanying task cards that will help teach the basics of Scratch:
http://scratched.media.mit.edu/resources/scratch-student-taskcards-accom...
I teach gifted students, and work with both Scratch and Lego Robotics. Yes, Scratch is very suitable for use with bright elementary students. I would say that even 2nd graders could enjoy some success with Scratch. Just look up Scratch Programming, or Scratch MIT.

Anita Prentice's picture
Anita Prentice
Alternative ed/ social studies teacher in Peekskill, NY

I have an alternative education tutoring classroom for students with struggles and have Scratch installed on our computers. High school students discover it and really enjoy getting into the software. A few have created very elaborate scenes and sprites. It is a mental change from cramming for Regents exams at school or playing video games at home - uses very different thinking skills.

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