‘Scratch’ your coding itch!
Coding using Scratch the Cat in the Junior School
By: Suzanne Cormack, Grade 4 Homeroom Teacher
Students in SK to Grade 2 have the opportunity to sign up for Coding CASE in the Junior School. During this weekly learning experience, students are introduced to coding using the Scratch Junior platform. Students very quickly learn to use the colorful touch screen interface to code stories involving characters, storylines, and settings. Students begin to develop and extend their computational thinking skills by creating interactive projects in a step by step fashion. Students often have to engage in problem-solving in order to figure out why their project has not behaved in the way they want it to. They then have to revisit their code and debug any glitches. These students learn how to use motion blocks to repeat algorithmic sequences and learn how to create their own sprites and add these in code and trigger algorithmic sequences.
The introduction and development of the use of ‘sound’ and ‘say’ blocks also forms part of this coding experience. As the coders develop, they are then introduced to the concept of parallelism to trigger two or more algorithms simultaneously. Students then go on to be able to accurately time algorithms running in parallel. All of these skills will stand the students in good stead as they build on them throughout their time in the Junior School and begin to use Scratch in Grades 3, 4, 5 and into the Middle School.