Coding is an extremely valuable skill in today’s society. Not only is it in high demand, but understanding the principles behind it can help make students more responsible digital citizens.
However, teaching it can be difficult – especially when you have younger students who don’t have the same ability to write text-based coding. However, Scratch, a massively popular coding tool based on block-based coding, is a great solution for students of any again.
However, where can teachers find the best lesson plan resources for adding Scratch into their classrooms?
In this article, we’ll discuss more about what Scratch is and dive into some specifics about the resources you’ll need to succeed in the classroom!
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What Is Scratch?
Scratch is an online, block-based coding tool made by MIT and focused explicitly on children.
It provides children a way to learn coding principles with a simple and easy-to-understand language with an accessible interface. Instead of typing things out by hand, students simply drag and drop blocks with specific functionality to “code”. With Scratch, you can create coded material like games, animations, digital stories, and more.
The main aims of Scratch include:
- Promoting problem-solving to achieve success in coding.
- Promoting logical thinking to solve these problems.
- Getting teachers to present the software excitingly so the students can be more creative.
- Encouraging self-expression in students and collaborative thinking.
- Being accessible – the software is available in over 70 languages.
There are many features and tools on Scratch. Therefore, many teaching resource providers create lesson plans for it.
What Should You Look For In A Scratch Lesson Plan Resource?
Before taking you through the exact Scratch lesson plan resources, you should know what to look for in an excellent Scratch teaching resource. Scratch is a surprisingly robust tool, so you will need specific values to find an effective resource.
Here are three central elements you should look for in a Scratch lesson plan resource.
Because the Scratch lesson resources are for children, the main thing you should look for in a Scratch-based lesson plan is simplicity. If young students can’t understand what the Scratch teaching resource is trying to tell them, they won’t be receptive to the resource. This also applies to older students with no coding experience.
A practical Scratch lesson plan resource must use straightforward language to convey ideas. Additionally, a Scratch teaching resource shouldn’t focus on an extensive range of topics (unless it is an introduction to the software). A singular topic focus will give students a better chance to retain the information.
The length is another element that adds to the simplicity of a Scratch lesson plan resource. If it is a simple topic, the resource should be short so that the students can remember it best.
Covering a Specific Aspect Of Scratch Thoroughly
Focus is an effective way to ensure a student retains the information on a Scratch lesson plan resource.
It will likely be confusing and ultimately forgettable if you use a lesson resource with too many focuses that tries to teach many subtopics in the same breath. Therefore, you should find Scratch teaching resources that break up into easy-to-digest sections.
Using a Scratch teaching resource provider with multiple thorough courses and teaching activities adds more value to the package in this regard.
It Should Be Fun
Finally, a Scratch lesson plan resource should be as enjoyable as possible. Students who don’t have fun during the Scratch lesson plan will likely not retain the information.
Additionally, a fun lesson plan can engage a student in coding and potentially make them want to pursue it as a career. It all has to start with that first experience.
What Are The Best Scratch Lesson Plan Resources?
Now you know what to look for in a Scratch lesson plan resource, you need to know what the best Scratch resources are. Multiple kinds of Scratch resources offer value in different ways, from introductory courses to project-based courses.
Here are some examples of the best types of Scratch lesson plan resources and how they benefit students.
An Intro To Scratch Coding
An “Intro To Scratch Coding” course is the perfect starting course on Scratch. As you may expect, the intro course is a basic introduction to Scratch and how to use its core functions.
You can find an excellent version of the intro Scratch lesson plan resource on Zenva Schools. It includes many basic Scratch teachings, such as:
- How to use the basics coding tools on Scratch
- How to create basic computer instructions using intuitive flowcharts
- How to implement basic algorithms using Scratch
- Understanding and deciphering programming coordinates
- What to do when you see repetition coding
- How to change your Scratch sprite (and move it)
In the case of Zenva Schools, the lessons are generally also kept to a few parsley minutes, so it’s very easy to digest no matter how long. So via our criteria, it is the perfect course to introduce Scratch to students with little or no knowledge of even the most fundamental basics of coding.
Projects Using Scratch
After taking an introductory course to Scratch, the next level is project-based courses concerning creating specific projects on Scratch. These will help reinforce the coding basics, while showing students how they can effectively make their own kinds of projects.
Zenva Schools has several of these courses as an example. The Scratch project courses on Scratch include:
- Fish Animation: A beginner’s course on creating animations using Scratch. The example they give is a fish animation involving multiple fish in a coral reef setting. Students learn essential animation coding tools, including moving sprites, creating and playing sounds at the right moments, adding backgrounds, and looping animations (for a screensaver, for example).
- Cat on Trampoline: Students learn how to create an interactive project using Scratch. Specifically, they find out how to add user input into a Scratch algorithm. The project course will teach students many interactive coding techniques, including object collision detection, implementing event-based actions into Scratch code, making the algorithm accessible, storing code data in multiple variables, and creating a user interface for a project.
- Beach Clean Up Game: A project course designed to help students master algorithm creation on Scratch. Learners will discover many valuable tools for algorithm creation and game development, including finding mouse inputs, tutorial set-up, developing a scoring system with multiple conditions to win, and more. Users can also learn basic coding principles, including learning particular variables to store essential data.
Along with showing you how to do specific projects on Scratch, you can also have a closer look at Scratch with detailed simulation courses. Simulations offer students a different look into the world of coding and explore societal impacts such simulations have on real-life science.
As an example of this type of course, we’ll again turn to Zenva Schools where you can find “Intermediate Scratch – Self-Driving Car Simulation”. It teaches students how to create a simulation of self-driving cars while showing them the tools they need to develop other simulations on Scratch.
In the course, students will learn core functions including:
- How to create objects and edit object states.
- How to control the moving cars based entirely on their data (sensor data).
- How to input fully adjustable variables into the simulation.
- How to add audio and image files into the simulation (helps create a brilliant atmosphere).
- How to successfully apply logic to the sprites in the simulation.
- How to make algorithms (beginner algorithms and more complicated ones).
Along with this, the course also explores how these simulations apply to real life, providing information for digital citizenship as well.
What Are The Best Scratch Lesson Plan Resource Providers?
Now you know some of the best Scratch lesson plan resource types, you need to know the providers that can give you the best options.
Here are some of the best options for learning about Scratch and the teaching resources it can provide to teachers and students.
Twinkl has multiple Scratch teaching resources that educators can use to create lesson plans. Most of these resources are printable resources like posters and worksheets. They even have some free resources like a free Scratch game development worksheet.
However, Twinkl is best as a supplement to other providers. Nevertheless, they are a king in that regard, providing tons of different kinds of material not really found elsewhere (especially for teachers who are still more on the paper-format preference).
Unlike Twinkl, Tes has an extensive teaching resource for Scratch. It is a six-week course that involves multiple PowerPoint lessons teaching students the essential tools of the digital tool.
The Tes Scratch lesson plan resource includes:
- A complete guide for teachers, including breakdowns of the lesson plan.
- A PowerPoint presentation for all the lessons on the resource.
- Self-assessment marking sheet to help students find out the elements of Scratch they need to learn more about (game development, for example).
- A file containing four Scratch files.
That being said, Tes doesn’t have the same sort of interactivity that other providers can redner.
Finally, Zenva Schools (which should be no surprise) offers an excellent range of courses to help students confidently use Scratch to create algorithms, develop games, and more. The Scratch lesson plan resources on Zenva Schools include:
- An introduction lesson plan that teaches all the Scratch basics.
- Multiple project-based lesson plans teach students how to use specific functions on Scratch.
- A simulation lesson plan takes students through a detailed simulation and shows them the tools to apply to other simulation projects.
- Pre-mapped lesson plans for the Digital Technologies curriculum and various US curricula
The resources on the site make it an easy choice for the best Scratch lesson plan resource provider.
Which Scratch Lesson Plan Resource Provider Should You Choose?
Many lesson plan resource providers offer extensive resources for Scratch. Ultimately, the “best” one is always going to be the platform that has the specific features you need as a teacher.
However, of the providers available, Zenva Schools perhaps has the most comprehensive collection. Not only are they matched to specific curricula standards necessary, but include a wide range of projects for students to dive into.
Whichever resource you pick, rest assured Scratch is in itself a fantastic way to introduce students to coding regardless of skill level!
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