Students new to Scratch Programming can view a number of animated tutorials on Scratch’s website. When a student opens a new project, the tutorials can be seen behind the question mark on the right side of the web page. Clicking the question mark expands the menu.
While animated tutorials are helpful, they’re greatly improved with narration. Take for example the Catch Game. Students are shown how to select an apple and a bowl for their sprites. The apple must be programmed to repeatedly fall randomly from the sky; the bowl must be programmed to move left or right at the bottom of the screen (it will catch the apples). As students follow the tutorial, adding code blocks, the animation will move repeatedly between the apple and the bowl. This leads students to create scripts for the wrong sprite. Close attention to detail requires not only watching the animation but reading the directions. Young programmers are eager to build games – – as quickly as possible. Reading directions is not always a top priority. So, I created this step-by-step tutorial with narration for the Catch Game. In the video, you’ll see me make two errors and then stop and correct myself. Making mistakes requires a redo but in programming it’s called iteration. Teaching kids how to code with an appropriate computer language like Scratch helps them build computational skills. Computational skills include decomposition, pattern recognition, and algorithmic design.