cat.jpgScratch: Imagine, Program, Share


Scratch was developed by the Media Lab at MIT as a free, simple-to-learn but potentially powerful programming software. By moving blocks of coded directions, students build scripts that tell sprites how to act, creating games, animations and graphics projects. Scratch is supported by a web site for sharing projects and a forum for sharing ideas and getting support. With the purchase of a Picoboard ($50), students can also design their own user interface, so that the computer takes input from the device they create.

Specific Program Links

This is the source for the free download of Scratch, plus a great site for students to share their projects and check out projects from others. There are extensive support materials on the site, including "Scratch Cards" that show blocks of code used frequently for keeping score, animating, and other common Scratch actions.
Launched in July, 2009, this site supports educators in their use of Scratch. It includes tabs for Scratch stories, resources, discussions, and a clickable map for finding user/members.

Uses of Scratch in Education

Activities and skills:
  • Animations
  • Simulations
  • Computer games
  • Interactive projects
  • Graphic designs
  • Music projects
  • Storytelling
  • Programming concepts

What Scratch Does for Students

Our students' world is rich with technology. Schools must teach students to be shapers, not just users, of technology. Scratch starts at a level where children feel instantly successful as programmers, then they can keep learning and applying increasingly complex skills. The thinking required mirrors what any adult programmer deals with, and the students intuitively recognize it. They set design goals for their projects, they deal with logic and have to problem-solve to fix program bugs. They collaborate, cooperate, co-teach. There is a buzz in the room when the kids get going on Scratch projects, a special intensity of ownership. They appreciate the power that Scratch gives them to create their own versions of games and animations.

The MIT Scratch research group leader, Mitchel Resnick, writes that what Scratch does for students goes beyond the context of technology. He describes a "creative thinking spiral" that Scratch is designed to support.
  • "In this process, people imagine what they want to do, create a project based on their ideas, play with their creations, share their ideas and creations with others, and reflect on their experiences—all of which leads them to imagine new ideas and new projects."
  • "In today’s rapidly changing world, people must continually come up with creative solutions to unexpected problems. Success is based not only on what you know or how much you know, but on your ability to think and act creatively."
Here is the full article, , from which these quotes are taken.

Lesson Plans, Outlines, Rubrics, Other Resources

Click here for examples of resources for the use of this technology in the classroom. Post your student work planners, graphic organizers, lesson or unit outlines... anything which others may find useful in planning their own use of Scratch in education.

Wiki Resources

Blogging Resources


Additional Web Links

Other places with Scratch information, lessons, and ideas

Article/Book Links

Intro to Scratch

These links are scholarly articles, and require purchase/membership to download.

A book is out with Scratch activities:


These links feature examples of rubrics and self evaluations created for Scratch Projects.

PDF files for rubrics and self evaluations are in the "Lesson Plans..." section

Curriculum Integration Ideas from the Scratch@MIT conference, summer 2008

Active Discussion Page

Please click here to leave a comment about Scratch.
A Classroom 2.0 discussion thread on Scratch

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