Friday, February 3, 2017

Creating a Portal to Computer Science with Scratch Programming

Today's post comes from Deborah Gaff. Deb teaches middle school science and PLTW (GTT and Introduction to Computer Programming) at Hauser Jr Sr High School in Hope, Indiana. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Why Teach Computer Science in Schools?

Adding Computer Science to the content area classroom is an easy way to move along the SAMR pathway from No Tech to Redefinition. Scratch is a very powerful programming environment that will allow you to step into computer science by enhancing your students’ artifacts of learning to transformation where students become creators of new tasks and tools to demonstration learning.

Why Scratch Programming?

MIT’s Scratch programming is an easy to use drag-n-drop programming environment. It is a very flexible tool that can be adopted to multiple learning levels. Whether a student is a novice or an advanced user, there is an opportunity to differentiate learning using Scratch.

How Do I Get Started Using Scratch? 

You can start by creating a Scratch program where students use technology to complete a blackline master you may already be using in your classroom. Students use a unique color for each of the label boxes. They will use an if statement (Conditional Logic) to match the color with the correct name they would have written in the box before. In addition to implementing technology, students can revisit their program to study without reprinting the blackline master.

Just about any image (jpeg/png) of a blackline master can be used to start students coding!

Creating simple games to demonstrate knowledge can meet content standards as well as the Indiana Computer Science standards.

 Listed below are the middle grades Computer Science Standards fully or partially met with this introduction to Scratch Programming.
6-8.DI.3 Represent data in a variety of ways (e.g., text, sounds, pictures, and numbers), and use different visual representations of problems, structures, and data (e.g., graphs, charts, network diagrams, flowcharts).
6-8.DI.5 Demonstrate interdisciplinary applications of computational thinking and interact with content-specific models and simulations to support learning and research.
6-8.PA.1 Select appropriate tools and technology resources to support learning and personal productivity, publish individual products, and design, develop, and publish data, accomplish a variety of tasks, and solve problems.
6-8.PA.2 Implement problem solutions using a programming language that includes looping behavior, conditional statements, logic, expressions, variables, and functions.
6-8.NC.1 Collaboratively design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., videos, podcasts, websites) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts.
Need a little more help to get started?

I have created a Google Docs Folder with a short how to video for teachers and a lesson plan starter to help.

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