A recent Kidz Club long weekend, crammed with fun activities – camping, horse riding, swimming, star gazing, hide-and-seek games – included an intellectually stimulating morning playing with Scratch in the computer lab.

Scratch is a free visual programming language developed by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to help teach learners 8 to 16 the basics of coding; helping them learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. These are essential skills for life in the 21st century – in line with the IEA Elite’s philosophy to inspire future entrepreneurs with academic skills of an international standard.

Origin of the Word

We take the name “Scratch,” from the way that hip-hop disk jockeys scratch with music. They take pieces of music and then combine them together in unexpected and creative ways.
Mitchell Resnick, Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT

Likewise, within Scratch, you take different bits of code (blocks), put them together, and have made something new.

Scratch is like directing a movie

Programming in Scratch is like directing theatre or a movie:

In theatre, just as in Scratch, there are characters (sprites, in Scratch parlance), costumes, backdrops, scripts, and a stage.
Creative Computing

Scratch is used to create:

  • Animations
  • Games
  • Interactive stories
  • Programming music

Heritage Scratch Day

Scratch expert and facilitator – Eric Brindeau – first gave the campers an introductory talk and live demonstration in the school’s media hall. Then learners each had a chance to create with Scratch in the computer lab.

Cameron created an undersea game with a shark eating a scuba diver
Sonke created a ghost floating over the city
Naledi created a dancing girl jiving to a beat
Charmonique created an eerie scene of a bat flying over the city, flapping its wings
Juliano created an undersea game with a shark eating a fish
Ariella and Andriette created a game with a mouse eating a cupcake

After some hands-on experience using Scratch and seeing how it works, learners made a basic ‘pong’ game – hitting a bouncing ball with a bat. The IEA Elite’s very own Scratch ‘superstar’, Andriette Grobler, then showed her classmates how to add more programming functionality like keeping score and adding a ‘game over’ message.

Sonke’s space-themed tennis ball pong game

We’d like to thank the Kidz Club campers for taking part in our first ‘Scratch Day’, showing that learning can be fun.

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