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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Scratch in KS3

Screen shot 2009-11-24 at 6.01.09 PM

Photo Courtesy of the Scratch Algebra Learning Network

The 7th and 8th grade are working with Scratch Programing language this school year.
Scratch, was developed by the MIT Media Lab to enable kids 8 years of age and older to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, presentations and art while learning "important mathematical and computational ideas."
When working on Scratch projects, students must use reasoning and problem solving skills while thinking creatively.
The projects can then be uploaded to the Scratch Website to be shared and remixed by others.

The students have taken to it completely. They were taught two new skills at the beginning of each lesson, after first  being introduced to the basic  needed to get started. At the same time we gave them the freedom to begin developing a project of their choice, and pursue their own interests. At some point in the 2nd lesson they had made their decisions. They began diverging from the basic skills work, choosing their own directions and constructing programs using the blocks in Scratch that they found most interesting. Some of the students are currently creating interactive games while others are working on various types of presentations. The 7th grade will be finished in another week and we look forward to sharing some of this work on the ABCICT Website.

The great thing about Scratch is that it enables kids to learn by trial and error, and analyse their work while studying problems from different angles. It requires them to break down problems by breaking down the program blocks, and enables them to utilse the work of others as models in trying to solve their own programming problems. The Scratch website is full of videos, tutorials, activity cards and projects to use as teaching resources.

My students and I are very pleased to be working with Scratch in ICT. Hats off to the great team at the  MIT Media Lab!

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