What is Scratch?
With programming from scratch, you can create your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century (source: https://scratch.mit.edu/about).
Teaching scratch to the students of class four to eight was initiated in 2015 which was included inside the “Literacy with ICT” textbook. They will get to learn programming from scratch starting from class four and the content ends in class eight. It was a good initiative by the Royal Education Council that they found a need for keeping our students in pace with emergent and immersive technologies in the 21st century.
I came to know about scratch when I was first teaching literacy with ICT in grades 7 and 8. We did not get to learn scratch even in our college days. So, how to go ahead with teaching the students?
Well, there are plenty of resources online which means that programming in scratch is not new or rarely applied. It was fun creating animation and games.
Unfortunately, we see teaching scratch getting compromised since literacy with ICT does not have an examination. students usually don’t learn if they don’t have an exam. But then, I found learning and knowing programming in scratch is way beyond just learning for examination. Knowing its application is what motivated me and my students to learn more.
Programming Robots with Blocks
In Scratch, programming is all done in blocks where we Just drag and drop logically together for the specific task. I underestimated thinking that scratch programming is for kids. I never knew having a little knowledge of programming in scratch would help me in building a ROBOTS.
Actually scratch is designed especially for ages 8 to 16 but is used by people of all ages. Millions of people are creating Scratch projects in a wide variety of settings, including homes, schools, museums, libraries, and community centers (source: Scratch official page).
STEMP Olympiad 2019 (robotic competition)
This year, 2019, for the first time ever and which is at the National level, Bhutan hosts National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Robotics competition on the theme “artificial intelligence for sustainable farming”. Here, Students are asked to build a robot and compete with each other for effectiveness and durability. Robotic kits are provided by the fab lab of Bhutan.
Literacy for a robotics requires to know how to code.
While building robots my students had hard time programming rather than designing since they did not get an opportunity to learn scratch or any other programming languages in lower classes. Still then, with a little knowledge in scratch programming, I was able to help them and now they are far better. They were able to make a robot work.
Programming in building robots offers two ways to code: Blocks and the onBot java programming tool. Where coding in Blocks is no different than how we code in Scratch. We just have to install the Robot Controller App from the play- store and install it inside our smartphone. Developer can also use laptops or tablets to do programming. After programming the developer can then saves the programs directly into the Robot Controller Hub.
Here’s an original snap of block programming that my students did while building a robot. It’s similar to how we do in Scratch.
You can watch an exhibition match of our robots:
Learning and teaching scratch is not a simple thing or should be taken lightly. I was delighted knowing that scratch programming is not just a basic thing. I can say, it’s a simple thing doing a broader task.
Learn scratch. Teach Scratch. Do scratch.
Scratch offline version 3 is available now. You can click here to download.
You can also read 3 things to know about scratch version 3. here