This lesson plan has been fully revised in September 2009 and is being used to help structure classes in several primary schools in Sussex in the south of England. Originally we devised written notes for teachers and parents but have now moved to providing video lessons for direct communication with the adult or child learning Scratch.
Scratch is designed for 8-12 year olds to learn a particular style of programming suited to creating interactive applications with multimedia content. Scratch is often used informally within a school computer club with pupils encouraged to work in pairs on projects that interest them. In our opinion, a successful lesson plan needs to introduce programming concepts, without overwhelming the pupils, and stimulate their interest so that they have the desire to put their skills to use in creating their own projects.
The lesson plan is designed to run over six sessions held either in the classroom as part of the ICT curriculum or during an after school computing club with two follow on sessions for creating projects to become part of a class showcase. The first part of each lesson involves a teacher demonstration or playing of one of our videos followed by the pupils exploring Scratch and developing their own projects.
You can view the following pages and associated videos or download a document you can print to help you structure your own lessons.
This lesson plan comprises some sample projects and a number of lessons with acompanying videos:
The selection of sample projects is important both as a framework for introducing programming skills and also as a means of stimulating interest. A variety of projects should be selected covering multimedia storybook projects as well as games. Several sample projects are available together with these notes and include full instructions on how to build each application from Scratch. You might also browse and download suitable projects from the Scratch website or use the best projects created by the more experienced programmers in the class. Good sources of inspiration are the simpler flash applications found at games sites such as www.friv.com or www.miniclip.com and stories found at www.bbc.com/cbeebies and other children's websites.
Several approaches are possible when teaching scratch to novice programmers. Older children might be encouraged to look and take apart the sample projects and starting straight away to build their own similar projects. Younger children might need to work more slowly exploring the scratch environment and commands by creating sprites and performing turtle graphic type operations before putting blocks together to build an application. Some children might want to develop complex games straight away and others girls might want to work with stories or create multimedia type applications.
The important thing is to stimulate interest by demonstrating a range of sample projects and then build up their programming skills as they select and begin to build their own projects. Once they have the basic skills, they can begin extending their projects and helping each other by discussing techniques and so forth. There are a vast range of projects available on the Scratch website but the following sample projects include notes and a structure to follow for building them up from scratch.