Getting Started With Scratch Scratch logo

  • Scratch Website
    The Scratch Website is where Scratchers upload their Scratch projects to share (see below) and where you can learn about Scratch. Use the link below to download Scratch.
  • ScratchEd Website for Educators
    Educators can find complete lesson plans for specific grade levels and subjects as well as connections to other Scratch-using teachers. This is an important site for teachers to explore to both learn more about Scratch as well as to learn where it fits into your curriculum.
  • Scratch Getting Started Page where you download Scratch
    Follow the links to download Scratch to your computer. It's free for you and your students, and there's a version for any computer.
  • The Getting Started Guide (PDF) to quickly explore the Scratch system
    The short Getting Started Guide introduces you to Scratch programming, animation, and effects. Try the Step-by-Step Tutorials below for a more in-depth introduction to the Scratch modules.

Step-by-Step Tutorials for Scratch

  • Scratch Lesson Plans Wiki
    This site contains a series of scaffolded lessons to introduce the Scratch environment and multimedia programming principles to students of all ages and in several subjects.
  • Shall We Learn Scratch Programming:a free e-book by Jessica Chaing
    This book can be read on the Web or downloaded as a PDF file. It contains step-by-step directions to develop the skills to create and program a Scratch project. It's one of the best references on the Web for Scratch construction and programming. (free account needed to download PDF e-book)
  • Videos from Shall We Learn Scratch Programming (above)
    This is the first of a series of ten videos that demonstrate the lessons from Jessica Chaing's e-book. Between the videos and e-book, anyone can follow along and learn the Scratch environment.
  • YouTube Videos to Learn Scratch Game Programming
    There are many YouTube tutorials to teach you elements of game programming with Scratch. The link above will get you started.
  • How to Program Gravity into your Game (PDF)
    Follow the clear steps and images of program tiles to learn how to add realistic gravity effects to your game or simulation. The acceleration of gravity is modeled to provide one element of physics to your project.

Scratch Examples

  • Explore sample projects on the Scratch Home Page, Projects, and Galleries
    Scratchers of all ages have uploaded about 2 million projects to the Scratch Website, and you can explore them through the home page categories, project tab, and galleries tab. Most of the projects can be run in a Web browser, and all can be downloaded to examine how they work or borrow the code or graphics. All uploaded projects are licensed to be freely shared without limit. One of the easiest ways to get started in Scratch is to download a project you like and to make modifications to the code and graphics.
  • Download and play Guardian, a Scratch video game
    You can review and change the code to Guardian to see how a highly playable game is programmed and how the graphics are used to good effect. Clear instructions and feedback are a winning part of this game!

Other Programs of Interest for Middle School Students

  • PhET Science and Math Simulations
    The University of Colorado at Boulder has developed over one hundred interactive simulations to help students explore targeted concepts in science and math. They are very easy to use, well categorized, sample lesson plans appear under each one (scroll down), and they all run in a Web browser (no software installation needed).
  • NetLogo Simulation System
    Developed at MIT and Northwestern Universities, the NetLogo system has about 400 pre-programmed simulations in science, math, and social science for all levels. It is one of the world's premier agent-based modeling systems, and students and teachers can use the system to author their own simulations. Like Scratch, learners can dissect existing simulations to see how they work, and they can modify and share any of the examples they find. Single and multi-user games can also be programmed in NetLogo.
  • Phun and Algodoo Mechanical Simulators
    Loads of fun creating animated, mobile constructions. Old versions of Phun are still free, and the commercial Algodoo program is focused on the school market.
  • The Inform 7 Text-Game Engine may be the easiest beginner system
    Inform 7 supports the creation of interactive fiction and text-based "adventure" games like Zork. The system includes great tutorials and examples within the game editor, and a programming language is included that is tailored to text-based gaming. Completed games may be placed in a Webpage within which the game may be disseminated and played. This open-source project is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

 

We're confronted by insurmountable opportunity!
-- Pogo (Walt Kelly)

About Scratch

Description: Scratch is an easy-to-learn, Web-based programming environment designed for kids (and big kids) to construct multimedia, animated projects like games, simulations, tutorials, and expositions. The system uses a "tile-based" programming system that eliminates errors in grammar and syntax, allowing the learner to concentrate on logic, program flow, and fun. The system has a built-in library of sound effects, musical instruments, actors, and backgrounds (stages); learners can also record their own sounds and draw or upload their own graphics. It's a wonderful system that combines the discipline of programming with the creativity of modeling clay. Over 6 million projects developed in Scratch by kids and teachers have been uploaded to the site to share.

Scratch is free for unlimited use on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. The current version (Scratch 2) is completely Web-based, so no software needs to be installed on protected school computers (it runs as a Flash application). Thousands of schools around the world use Scratch from elementary to university level. Scratch is easy to integrate into any subject for individual or group projects.

portrait of avatar
"Wayne Warrigal," my Second Life avatar ~photo by sgarrigan

 

Mitch Resnick photo
~photo by mjmonty

Scratch cat
~the Scratch cat

Scratch wiki logo
~the Scratch Wiki logo