Scratch Jr with Year 1 & 2

Following on from our work with Bee-bot and Blue-bot last term, Year 1 and 2 are now moving onto Scratch Jr. This introduces more opportunities for developing computational thinking, programming and coding skills in a more creative environment. This half term we will be working towards animating a short story.

Like Blue-bot and Bee-bot, Scratch Jr is available free on both the App Store for IOS and Google Play for Android devices.

Women in STEM – learning log ideas

This week many of the children’s learning logs are themed around Ada Lovelace Day, and the contribution of women to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Here are some significant women in STEM you could research:

Ada Lovelace – computing pioneer & mathematician
Katherine Johnson – NASA space scientist
Roberta Bondar – Astronaut and neurologist
Grace Hopper – Computer scientist and Rear Admiral

Would you like to be involved in science technology, engineering or maths when you’re older? Here are some exciting STEM related careers:

– Computer scientist
– Engineer (including Formula 1!)
– Astronaut
– Doctor

And there are many more! Here’s a link to where STEM can take you.

Can I draw shapes in Scratch?

Step 1 – Predict…Which blocks do you think you will need? Have a look at the blocks available and make a prediction.

Step 2 – Build…Start putting your blocks together – how do you think they need to be connected?

Step 3 – Test…Has your program worked?

Step 4 – Improve…If it worked, how can you improve it? If it didn’t how will you fix it?

Creating a countdown timer with year 5

Following on from last week, this week we are going to look at variables in more depth. You will have the chance to remind yourselves of what variables are and how you can add them to a game.

We will then look at how we can add more complex variables, such as a countdown timer, and make things happen as a result using conditional blocks.

To begin with we will use the same base project as last time:

Pong without scoring

Tip – for all instructions, think about when you want them to happen.

Mild: Create a timer variable and set time to 20

Medium: Use a wait block to and a change block to change the time:

Hot: Use an if/then conditional block (and others) to make something happen when the timer reaches zero.

Introducing Scratch to year 3

LO: Can I tinker with Scratch projects?

After last week’s visit from the Sandwich Bot, class 3B are using Scratch for the first time this afternoon.

After an introduction to the Scratch we interface, we will start by looking at four Scratch projects aimed at those just starting on their Scratch journey. To begin with we will ‘tinker’ with these projects. For those new to the word, tinker means to mend or change something by playing and experimenting. This is a great way to start with Scratch, as all projects are completely open source and can be changed by anyone.

Below are links to four projects – start by reading the instructions for each project and see if you can work out what they do.

Dance Party
Paint with Gobo
Maze starter
Piano

Then try the following challenges:
– Click on ‘see inside’, what happens if you change some of the blocks?
– Can you make the project do something different?
– Can you add something new to the project?

Ava Lovelace day

Today is a very special day for computing, but not just computing…

Every year, on the second Tuesday in October, Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.

Here are some links where you can find out more about Ada Lovelace Day and Ada herself.

Ada Lovelace Day
Ada Lovelace biography
Ada Lovelace National Geographic page
Not your typical role model – BBC

Can you leave a comment below with something you have learned, or something you would like to know about Ada?

Predicting and testing with Blue-Bot

Year 2 have been learning how to predict and test using the Blue-Bot app. They were set a series of challenges to move the Blue-Bot from one location to another. Before they used the app they had to predict, on paper which instructions would be successful. Once they had made their predictions they tested them using the app. In a different colour pencil they debugged their instructions, showing qualities of determination and resilience.

Variables – week 2

Following on from last week, this week we are going to look at variables in more depth. You will have the chance to remind yourselves of what variables are and how you can add them to a game.

We will then look at how we can add more complex variables, such as a countdown timer, and make things happen as a result using conditional blocks.

To begin with we will use the same base project as last week:

Pong without scoring

**UPDATE**

Here’s Kaitlin, Chand and Emily’s project – not only did they get the timer working without any additional support, they also switched backgrounds with the background varying according to how the game ended. Click on the link to the project page to see how they it.

Can I add variables to a game in Scratch?

Last week we decomposed Scratch projects to find and fix errors in their code. This week we will focus on one particular project – Pong. The objective is to improve Pong by adding in a scoring system, and for some of you adding in a timer to limit the length of each game.

Decompose the game on your sheet in as much detail as you can.

To begin with you will need to plan exactly what you want your scoring system to do – think about these questions:
– How will you score points?
– How much will the score change by?
– When will the score need to change?

Pong game without scoring

Here are your challenges:

Mild – Add variables ‘score’ and ‘time’ to a game

Medium – improve the game by introducing a score which increases as you play and resets at the beginning of each game

Hot – Add a countdown timer to your game

Extra Hot – End your game when the timer counts down to zero

On your prompt sheets are some of the blocks you will need, and some that you won’t…