Showing posts with label ScratchMath. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ScratchMath. Show all posts

Monday, September 11, 2017

Built to Last - Scratch

This fall will mark the tenth anniversary of Free Technology for Teachers. Over those ten years I have reviewed thousands of free resources for teachers and students. Some of those free resources have come and gone in a blaze of glory (remember when Second Life and Nings were the cat's meow?) while others have stood the test of time. Over the next couple of months I am going to revisit some of the free resources that have endured over the majority of the last ten years. With a nod to the Grateful Dead song of the same name, I'm calling this series Built to Last.

Scratch is the second entry in my Built to Last series. Scratch is a free program designed to introduce students to programming concepts. Through Scratch students can create animations, games, and videos. Students program in Scratch through a process of dragging and dropping blocks into sequences. Each block represents a command.

When I first wrote about scratch almost ten years ago, it had to be downloaded and installed on your computer. Today, you can still do that or you can use Scratch's online version. ScratchJr, a program based on Scratch, is designed for students under the age of eight to learn programming basics on an iPad, an Android tablet, or on a Chromebook.

Plenty of tutorials abound for getting started using Scratch. The best place for teachers to start is on the Scratch for Educators site. There you will find many tutorials, activity guides, and a curriculum guide. The ScratchEd community is the place to go for inspiration from other teachers who are using Scratch in their classrooms. For example, in ScratchEd you might find something like this Google Doc filled with ideas for using Scratch in elementary school mathematics lessons.

Scratch Overview from ScratchEd on Vimeo.


Why did Scratch make it into this series? Because not only has it endured through the years, it has spawned other tools for teaching programming. Google's Blocky, Snap, and many others have been built from the basis of Scratch. Finally, Scratch 3.0 is now available for testing and is scheduled for a full release in 2018 so Scratch is here to stay. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

ScratchMath - Great Ideas for Using Scratch in Elementary Math

Last month I received an email from Jeffery Gordon in which he shared with me an online binary calculator that he created for his students. When I asked him for more information about the calculator and what he was teaching in general, he shared another cool resource with me. That resource is ScratchMath.

ScratchMath, written by Jeffery Gordon, is a free ebook filled with examples of using Scratch in elementary school math classes. The examples are Scratch models through which students can learn concepts dealing with place values, multiplication, and division. Each example includes the steps that need to be completed in Scratch to create models like a multiplication array, a divisibility checker, and factoring game.

For folks who are not familiar with Scratch, it is a free programming tool designed for students between the ages of eight and sixteen although it has been successfully used by younger and older students. Scratch uses a visual interface that helps students see how the parts of a program fit together to create a final product. Students create programs by dragging and dropping commands into a sequence. Programs that students create can vary from simple animations to complex multiplayer games. Visit the Scratch Educators page to learn more about how to use it in your classroom.