Scratch Basics

ScratchBeginner

This lesson introduces students to the Scratch programming language and the Scratch website that we use to create Scratch projects.

Note: In January 2019 Scratch 3.0 was released. This has an updated interface, additional sprites & backdrops and some additional functionality. The below video uses the older version of Scratch but will still give you a very good understanding of what it is and how it works.

1

What is Scratch?

Scratch is a visual programming language that can be used to create many different types of projects such as games, animations and stories. We call it a visual programming language because it uses graphical elements and figures to create programs. This is different from textual programming languages that use words and text to create programs.


2

Opening the Scratch website

To create projects and programs on Scratch we use the Scratch website which is located at https://scratch.mit.edu. Open the website in a web browser and click on 'Create' to start a new project.


3

The Project Editor

When you click 'Create' you will be brought to the Scratch project editor which is what we use to create our Scratch projects. The editor has 3 main areas:

  1. Stage - this is on the left hand side of the screen and it's where we design our project and manage the characters (called "sprites") and backgrounds (called "backdrops").
  2. Block Palette - this is in the middle of the screen and has code fragments (called "blocks") that can be dragged onto the scripts area. To keep the palette from being too big, it is organized into 10 groups of blocks: Motion, Looks, Sound, Pen, Data, Events, Control, Sensing, Operators, and More Blocks.
  3. Scripts Area - this is on the right hand side of the screen and is where we drag the blocks to create programs (called "projects").

4

Students start coding

Allow the students to now open up the Scratch website in a web browser using the student computers.

5

Making a sprite move

Get the students to add the following blocks to their script area and join them together:

when green flag clicked move (10) steps turn cw (15) degrees

Once they've added these blocks they should click the green flag at the top right of the stage area to 'run' the code. Each time they click the green flag it will run the code.


6

Adding a sprite from the library

Scratch has a library of sprites that can be added to your projects. Get students to access the library by clicking the sprite library button (highlighted in yellow in the figure on the right).

This will open up the sprite library where students can browse and select a sprite to add to their project. To add the sprite students should click on the chosen sprite and then click the 'OK' button (you can also add a sprite by double clicking on it).



7

Adding a backdrop

Scratch also has a library of backdrops than can be added to your projects. Get students to access the library by clicking the backdrop library button (highlighted in yellow in the figure on the right).

This will open up the backdrop library where students can browse and select a backdrop to add to their project. To add the backdrop students should click on the chosen backdrop and then click the 'OK' button (you can also add a backdrop by double clicking on it).



8

Let the students explore!

With the basics covered this is a good point to let the students explore Scratch. Prompt them to starting exploring the different block palettes and see what they can make their sprites do.

End of lesson
Copyright Notice
This lesson is copyright of Coding Ireland. Unauthorised use, copying or distribution is not allowed.

Scratch is developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at https://scratch.mit.edu