Tag Archives: computing

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

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?

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.

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…

Registering with the Scratch community

This term KS2 will be using Scratch software which can be accessed free online http://scratch.mit.edu. Programming has become an important part of learning about technology to meet expectations in the new curriculum. It develops children’s thinking and problem solving skills, builds resilience and is great fun too! Using Scratch is a great way to add to the experience of learning to program and also to learn about e-Safety.

Your child can use Scratch without registering with the site. However, to enable your child to be able share the programs and games they create they will need to register with the Scratch community. This allows them, their friends and their family to see what they make at school and at home. They can also view programs created by other people to see how they have been made and can make changes to adapt it to create a similar game of their own.

The site lets anyone in the world see what you have created. Anyone can leave comments about your work. This is fantastic way for children to get feedback and can be very encouraging. They may get suggestions of ways in which they could improve their game. There are many benefits but also the risk that someone might leave a comment you don’t like. The Scratch Team includes a group of moderators who work each day to manage activity on the site and respond to any reports of misuse. When logged in, your child can delete any comments they do not like and can report anyone who is not following the community guidelines. It is extremely rare to see an inappropriate comment but we feel we should let you know that this could occur.

Scratch has guidelines for use which you agree to when you sign up:

* Be respectful. When sharing projects or posting comments, remember that people of many different ages and backgrounds will see what you’ve shared.
* Be constructive. When commenting on other’s projects, say something you like about it and offer suggestions.
* Share. You are free to remix projects, ideas, images, or anything else you find on Scratch and anyone can use anything that you share. Be sure to give credit when you remix.
* Keep personal info private. For safety reasons, don’t use real names or post contact info like phone numbers or addresses.
* Help keep the site friendly. If you think a project or comment is mean, insulting, too violent, or otherwise inappropriate, click ‘Report’ to let us know about it

The e-Safety aspects of being part of the Scratch Community will be explained to your child. We are writing to suggest that your child signs up with the Scratch Community so they can further their computing learning at home, and share the great work they are doing.

Here are some useful e-Safety messages for children using Scratch (and other websites):

* Use a safe alias
* Keep password and personal information private
* Give positive feedback to others
* Recognise copyright in terms of acknowledging other people’s ideas
* Recognise inappropriate content – consider whether others would find a project or comment mean, insulting, too violent, or otherwise inappropriate
* Know how and when to report inappropriate content and when deleting a comment is the sensible action
* Consider appropriate length of time to spend online creating and playing games

We would suggest you have a look at the website http://scratch.mit.edu to make sure you are aware of how it is used and that you are happy for your child to be part of the Scratch community. They have a page for parents which may answer any questions you have http://scratch.mit.edu/parents/, or you are welcome to arrange a time to come into school to discuss this with us.

Digital Leaders Announcement

A huge thank you to all the children who applied to be digital leaders. I had 30 applications for just 10 places. There were so many great quality applications I have extended it to 12 places.

The successful candidates were as follows:

Ayesha, Zane and Myra from 5D
Aysha, Zain, Easha, Hamzah and Abbie from 6C
Fatima, Rais, Kais and Eshal from 6O

If you were not successful please do not be too disappointed, I could easily have chosen another 12 candidates from the applications I received and if you’re not in year 6 their will be more opportunities next year. I will also be running a Minecraft club this term which will be open to those who were no successful.

Class 4B’s Scratch projects

4B have spent the last four weeks developing their own versions the Scratch maze game which 4L and 4O worked on earlier this term. Here are some examples of their work.

Abdullah and Zanira have used event blocks, move blocks and if/then blocks to control the movement of their sprite. They have also created a ‘score’ variable to improve their game. Next they need to move their game on to the next levels, which they have created, but currently are not coded into the game.

This is Aleem and Ayaan’s. They have added in sound effects to their project:

Hadia and Hafsa have coded their sprite to move, now they need to think about how they can use if/then blocks to make the obstacles work.

Creating an Autumn collage with year 1

Year 1 have been consolidating skills from last week as well as developing their use of iPads. They used their knowledge of the seasons, and autumn in particular which they have been learning in science and combined this with camera and uploading from the iPads.

This morning, they took pictures of signs of autumn in the secret garden. Amongst the things they saw were…
– leaves on the ground
– autumn colours (red/orange/yellow)
– berries
– fungus

Here are some of the best pictures. Next week they will be creating a collage on the iPads using the Pic Collage app.

autumn-fruit autumn-silver-birch autumn-tree brown-leaves fungus-1 fungus-2 leaf-litter yellow-leaf

Erase All Kittens

4L have been using the brilliant Erase All Kittens (EAK) website to gain their first experiences of text based coding. As well as being great fun, EAK helps children learn that there is code behind everything you see on a computer, and that once you decompose it, it’s not that complicated. if you have a PC, Mac or a similar laptop you can try it for yourself by clicking on the link in this post.