Teaching Teachers About Scratch Jr.

A couple of weeks ago I was given the chance to teach a group of Pre-K teachers about Scratch Jr.  You can learn more about Scratch Jr. from a previous post by Molly here.  This was one of the most fun professional developments that I ever taught.  The plan was to introduce the teachers to a couple of creative programs that could be used in their classrooms.  Scratch Jr. took center stage.  The program is really intu
Read More
a screen shot of a Scratch game with a helicopter

Moving Sprites in Scratch

Here in MAKESHOP, our go-to programming environment is Scratch, developed by MIT. Here are some basics. This post will delve more deeply into how a character or object on the screen (sprite) can be made to move in Scratch. Below are three ways to do it. Each of these programs has only one sprite, so it should be straightforward to see how these are working.   In the first example, the helicopter moves up, down,
Read More

How to control the game?

I was given the opportunity to work with an after school class at the Environmental Charter School in Pittsburgh a couple of weeks ago. The teachers wanted the kids to explore circuits and prototyping along with something digital. A great way to explore all of those things at once is to create a physical circuit that lets you interact with a digital computer program. We use a tool called a MaKey MaKey to allow the st
Read More

Camp MAKESHOP: Computational Thinking

Before learning about computational thinking and computer programming, campers were asked to design something a little more low-tech: a board game! Many of the same ideas about rules, steps and instructions are the same between computer programming and board game design. Once they played around with their physical creations, the kids sat down at computers to make something that is digitally interactive. Computational
Read More
A blank ScratchJr screen

Hello, ScratchJr!

We’ve been using Scratch to create animations, games, and art in the MAKESHOP for a while. Scratch is a programming language that teaches kids how to develop things that can be played with and looked at on a computer, and we love to use Scratch to make interactive pieces around MAKESHOP. Scratch can be a little tricky to understand, and until recently, older kids (8 to 16 years old) were usually better at makin
Read More

If Something Breaks…

Sometimes things break at our Museum. This particular case involved a computer with a broken power cord. This computer was designed to specifically run our Digital Dream Lab programming blocks station. Without this computer it meant that could not have the programming blocks out. Instead of just leaving a sign on the machine saying “broken, we are working on fixing this” we decided as a team to build a te
Read More