With so many coding resources available online it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start, what resources are worth your time and effort, and which are not. The Raspberry Pi website offers a wide variety of exciting and well-structured projects. As a repository, it is hard to beat with projects available for beginners and advanced coders alike.
Scratch, as a starting point, is covered in numerous projects. Some of which I will review at a later date. These are also grouped by themes, such as healthy living and the environment. There are so many activities that will fit almost any topic. Meaningful connections rather than tenuous links!
Recent additions to the project structure are the ‘all-new project paths’. These offer a series of projects presented in a coherent progressive structure. Ideal for anyone looking to build their understanding of computing through Scratch. The ‘Introduction to Scratch’ covers sprites, scripts, and loops. ‘More Scratch’ covers broadcasts, decisions/variables, and ‘Further Scratch’ includes clones, my blocks, and Boolean logic. There are also opportunities to explore Python, Unity, and physical computing with Scratch.
For independent learning, Code Club World is definitely worth exploring. Students create a login and make cool stuff while learning to code.
Once you have chosen a project or project path you can open the project introduction.
All project pages look like the above, with the title at the top, ‘interactive contents’ down the left-hand side, and the main part of the page in the centre. There’s also an option to create a free login at the top, which allows you to be in the middle of a project, to log out, and when you log back in again it will take you to the last page that you were on. This is ideal if you have a few days in between coding sessions. Especially if you are working with a class of children working independently and they can’t remember where they’re up to!
Each project will have a sample activity on the introduction page so children can have a go at the completed project so that they know what they are aiming for. At the bottom of the page, there are drop-down tabs explaining what you need to complete the project as well as what you’re going to learn. There is also extra information for educators, which includes a PDF version of the project if you want to create paper copies, and a completed copy of the Scratch project so you can see what the finished code looks like.
Finally, on the next page, there is often a starter project. This is a link to the project in Scratch with the sprites and background provided for you. This means you only have to focus on the code, rather than creating the sprites and background.
Next month, we’ll do a deep dive into specific Scratch coding projects, how they work with real classes, how to support learners through the project, and where there are opportunities to challenge more able learners.
by Steve Lewis
The Scratch coding projects have proven to be a fabulous resource, especially since we moved to online coding workshops. They’ve been well received by teachers and students, and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to try them out with schools across South Wales.
This is the first in a series of reviews of Scratch coding projects from the Raspberry Pi website. How they work with a real class. The opportunities for challenge and tinkering and the obstacles we found along the way.