‘Scratch’ is an online website and offline software that can be used to create simple animations. It has a range of characters (called ‘sprites’) and backgrounds that can be combined in a multitude of ways. The ‘sprite’ performs on a stage, which is based on the Cartesian co-ordinate system, with (0,0) at the centre. The user creates an animation using simple drag-and-drop commands, such as ‘go to (x,y)’; ‘move 100 steps’ or ‘turn 90 degrees’.
How to start SCRATCHING!
- Go to the Scratch site at https://scratch.mit.edu/
- Join up to the site with your username and password – you need an email address as well. You can only save your work if you join up.
- To share your work with others you need to click on the email message from Scratch.
- Click on “Create” and give your project a name.
- Start with an “Event” tile, then use the “Pen” to choose a color and thickness.
- To change the direction of the line you can use the “Motion” tiles to “Turn clockwise by x degrees” or “Turn anticlockwise by x degrees”.
- You can also start your drawing at a specific point by choosing “Go to (x,y)” and choose which direction to point in (up, down, left, right).
- Choose a background and sprite and program the character to draw a geometric shape.
- Use Scratch to explain a simple Maths or science concept, such as how to calculate the perimeter and area of a shape.
- Find, choose and adapt an existing Scratch game for your own purposes.
- Download a Scratch game planner here.
Some general, transferrable skills that you can learn with Scratch:
- Logical and creative thinking
- Systematic reasoning with instant feedback
- Communication and collaboration with peers
- Problem solving
- Developing patience and persistence
- Greater sense of control and responsibility for the learning process
Students can learn many maths concepts using Scratch, such as:
- Cartesian co-ordinate system
- Identifying, creating and naming angles (acute, right, obtuse, straight and reflex)
- Identifying, creating and naming polygons
- How to calculate the perimeter of polygons
- How to calculate the area of polygons
- Scratch for Parents
- Why Learn Scratch?
- Why Kids Should Learn Scratch
- STEM Video Game Challenge
- Rules for the STEM VGC
- Judging Rubric for the STEM VGC
- Game Design Document
- STEM VGC Teacher’s Learning Pack