Scratch has become a popular programming tool in our schools. It is a visual programming language that allows students to easily create event driven programs. It’s drag-n-drop interface makes development straight forward. Scratch is used in many schools as a learning tool and there is a huge knowledge base available on the Internet. 270px-Scratchcat.svg

Schools are teaching computer programming with Scratch at the elementary level. Often times it is being taught by non-programmers. While I believe that any programming exercise is good, I’ve continued to volunteer in the schools to bring more of a “programmer” perspective to the lessons.

You can learn more about Scratch and download it here.

I helped organize the first Hour of Code at my son’s school, the teachers and students were clamoring for more. All the awesome volunteers connected with the kids and they wanted to continue to program. And while programming is offered via the gifted and enrichment programs, it wasn’t readily available to students at all levels. I wanted to make sure that all students, regardless of race, gender or socio-economic background, had the opportunity to continue with their programming education.

So I volunteered to help.

Usually that’s the end of a story, but, while I know a lot about software engineering, I know nothing about teaching programming to a bunch of elementary school children. So I turned to Google, looking for any lessons that might be out there. I didn’t find much so I took it upon myself to put together some detailed programming materials.

I’m sharing it here so anyone can leverage them for their own teaching. Education is important and sometimes we need extra materials. And those materials should be easily accessible to everyone. So here they are. Enjoy!

Geometry Fun

I taught this activity to a bunch of 3rd grade students. They were learning geometry in math class and I thought it would be fun to use Scratch to create cool geometric shapes. I wanted to combine both math and programming in one exercise, leveraging programming to help deepen the students’ understanding of basic geometry. Sometimes the relationships that exist in geometry become clearer after you’ve programmed and experimented with them.

Download the Scratch fun with 3rd Grade. You’ll notice some letters and numbers in the presentation. These are tied to the specific examples in the code samples I created.

Download the code sample here This code was developed using Scratch version 1.x.

Space Invaders

The Space Invaders game incorporates movement, loops, and events. This activity is targeted at students in 4th – 6th grade. The example application was developed using Scratch 2.0.

Download the Space Invaders Presentation here.

Download the Space Invaders Sample Code here.