Syllabus: Scratch programming for kids
I noticed that these days, a lot of parents are being pressured by edtech industry to buy paid courses on "programming for kids" which are all simply using Scratch with bad instructions. So, I have put together this syllabus/sequence of high-quality learning resources (apps/free courses/articles/videos) that I followed for my own daughter with spectacular success.
We have a peer group of parents and children learning Scratch programming using this syllabus. If you'd like to join, come to our Slack group.
Why learn Scratch programming?
It will become more and more important to impart computational thinking skills to children. It helps them understand how computers work, and how to make new things with them.
Scratch is a visual programming language, built at MIT, that is used by children all over the globe. This visual language it is in the shape of blocks, and it allows its users to create online projects, games, apps, and many other things. It has a very active online community which makes this experience very engaging for kids, and they also learn collaboration and teamwork - besides figuring out how programs work.
Scratch, which is completely free, is what's being used by many edtech platforms. You don't need to pay a lot of money for paid courses because we have collected the best quality resources here for you and put them in a sequence that makes sense.
Can the child count things correctly? It's NOT easy. Suppose your boss wants you to work from 8am to 11am, and mop floors 8 to 11. Simple - it's one floor per hour, right?
Nope! There are 4 floors to mop (8, 9, 10 and 11) but only 3 hours to work (8-9, 9-10, and 10-11).
Whoa -- we count floors and hours differently? You bet. And somehow, if the boss said "Mop floors 8 to 11 on April 8th to 11th" everything would be ok.
Does the child have some exposure to 2D coordinate systems? It's not a prerequisite, but will have to be discussed during the practice stage. When you reach that stage, use resources from our co-ordinate plane topic.
Is any one of the parents experienced with computational thinking? If not, they too should go through this Scratch course. Following along with the child is also fine.
Do you have a computing device at home (a desktop / laptop / tablet)?
Motivation and priming:
Watch the "Exact Instructions Challenge" videos.
To get inspiration to create your own games (which is our project goal), explore games made on Scratch website.
Parent and child should enact the exact instructions challenge. You might want to record a video, but no need to publish it anywhere.
Play at least the first two levels of the programming puzzle game Lightbot.
Avoid Scratch Junior. It's better to stop after Lightbot and wait for them to be ready for main Scratch.
Instruction and Practice:
Scratch is available both as a website and as an app that works offline.
First try the interactive online tutorial.
More tutorials are available here.
There is this free video course on edX which will explain all the concepts in detail. Complete it as far as you can.
You can join other parents going through this syllabus in our Slack group. :-)
Instead of helping you once, we will teach you how to find help yourself on the Internet:
- Try these strategies for getting unstuck here.
- Check on Scratch wiki.
- And the Scratch forum.
- There's a Facebook group.
- Tweet to Scratch team or Scratch Junior team
- Ask fellow Scratch learners in our Slack group
- Basic: The student should be able to Create a game with her own idea and publish it on scratch website.
- Advanced: Complete this series of Scratch challenges.
Learn from the experts
- Use the "See Inside" option on others' scratches to understand how they work
- Watch Scratch tutorials on YouTube.
Your child should now teach Scratch to a friend or sibling. Teaching is one of the best ways to consolidate your learning.
What next after Scratch?
- Computational Thinking
- Processing language raises the level while still building concrete visual things.
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We are building a community of lifelong learners. If you have landed here, you probably have an immense love for learning like us. We would love to have you join our Slack group.
Added by: eshnil