Set the Speed Scratch Jr Lesson for Kids

A Scratch Jr lesson for kids that is fun to teach is how to set the speed of characters. This activity is suited to students who understand how to build simple scripts in Scratch Jr and are ready for a new challenge. Typically, the Set Speed block is used to create a racing scene with three racers. Characters move slow, medium, and fast. This is an excellent activity to show the difference in speed. However, there are many other ways to use the Set Speed block in Scratch Jr. Discover how this coding block can be used to ignite creativity in your students.

set speed in Scratch Jr

Set the speed a character moves in Scratch Jr. to invent a racing game.

About the Set Speed Block

Scratch Jr is an app that introduces programming concepts to primary and elementary students. Coding blocks are joined together to create simple scripts and loops that control the movement and appearance of characters. Young coders can design animated scenes, games, interactive collages, and stories by sequencing actions.

Scratch Jr has a Set Speed coding block that can be used to control actions. It has three options: slow, medium, and fast. By adding this block to a script it can control the rate a character moves, hops, turns, grows, or shrinks. To help young children use the coding block, a symbol illustrates the speed of an action. It is person walking or running.

set speed choices

A symbol shows the speed. A character can do an action slow, medium, or fast.

Set the Speed a Character Moves

To help students understand how to use the Set Speed block teach an introductory Scratch Jr lesson. Explore how to control the movement of a character by adjusting how quick or slow it moves across the stage. Below are some suggestions for teaching this coding skill to beginners:

  1. Create a simple script that moves a character right. Set the number of steps to 7.
  2. script race fast

    Build a script that sets the speed the character moves.

  3. Adjust the speed to see how this alters the movement. Compare the slow slow speed, medium medium speed, and fast options.
  4. Increase the number of steps. number of steps The speed becomes more noticeable.
  5. As an extra challenge, have students add two of the same characters. One should move slow and the other fast. Compare the difference in speed.

Create a Silly Animated Scene using the Set Speed Block

Once students understand how to use the Set Speed coding block they can create silly scenes. View a sample video made using a Scratch Jr lesson for kids from the TechnoWhiz technology project. The activity has students code identical characters that move at different speeds. Children will enjoy seeing their animations!

Set the Speed a Character Hops

The Set Speed coding block provides many creative possibilities. For example, a character can be programmed to hop up and down at different speeds. This is great way to animate the events in a scene or short story. However, for young coders ready to extend their learning, the Set Speed block can be used to invent a fun game for kids to play. By adjusting how high and fast each jumper hops, the player must watch closely to spot the Hop to the Top champ. The trick to coding this project is to build a script using the Start on Tap block. This allows the player to click on each jumper to identify who hoped the most.

Design the Hop to the Top Game using the Set Speed Block

Students in Grades 1-3 can invent games using Scratch Jr. Download a sample Scratch Jr lesson for kids. This activity is from the TechnoWhiz technology project. It is a skill review that outlines how to build the Hop to the Top game.

Download the Hop to the Top Scratch Jr Lesson for Kids. This lesson is from the TechnoWhiz project. It has Scratch Jr lesson plans and offline coding activities that teach programming basics to children in Grades 1-3.

Set the Speed a Character Turns, Grows, or Shrinks

Once students understand how to control the speed of a character in Scratch Jr, the creative possibilities become endless. One stumbling block to recognizing the potential of the Set Speed block is not setting the value of the coding block. If the default number is left unchanged, despite the Set Speed option being set, the speed is unnoticeable. For example, the Turn Right and Turn Left blocks should be set to 6 or 12 to see how quickly or slowly a spin can happen. As well the Grow and Shrink coding blocks should be set to at least 6 or higher to really spot the change in size. By applying this technique students will be able to create fantastic stories, games, or interactive collages.

Explore a Magical Place using the Set Speed Block

A coding activity that will engage students is to build an interactive collage. The player clicks on objects in the scene to watch them come to life. The design must have one action that happens slow, medium, and fast.

scratch jr

Design an interactive collage. The Set Speed block controls how fast or slow an action happens.

How to Copy a Script in Scratch Jr

Do you want to copy a script in Scratch Jr from one character to another? You can! Follow these instructions to save time when building and editing scripts.

Want to Copy a Script in Scratch Jr to Save Time?

In this example, the penguin’s script will be duplicated for the polar bear.

  1. Select the character in Scratch Jr whose script you would like to copy. It should turn orange.
  2. Grab the FIRST block in the script. This makes it easy to copy a script in Scratch Jr.
  3. copy a script in Scratch Jr

    Select the FIRST block in the script. NOTE: The sample script moves a character slow forever.

  4. Drag the script from the programming area over top of the other character.
  5. how to copy a script in scratch jr

    Drag the script over top of a character to copy a script in Scratch Jr.

  6. Select the character to see the copied script.
  7. select character

    Select the character to see the copied script.

  8. You can keep the script the same. Or, you can edit the blocks to change what the character does.
  9. copy a script

    The copied script shows in the programming area.

Are You Looking for Scratch Jr Coding Activities?

Copying scripts is an advanced Scratch Jr coding skill. It is best taught to students that already understand how to use the app and are now interested in learning time saving tips. If you are looking for more programming hints, take a look at TechnoWhiz. It is a technology project with Scratch Jr lessons, published by TechnoKids Inc. The activities introduce computer science concepts to children in Grades 1-3. It has 16 assignments, 5 reviews, 5 skills reviews, and 6 extension activities.

In TechnoWhiz, students build scripts and loops to design animations, games, and interactive collages. They learn how to copy scripts from one character to another, in the Invent a Far Away Planet skill review. In this activity, the young coders create an animated scene with characters that move at different speeds. On this planet, there are two of everything. Everyone has a twin that looks the same. One of the twins moves fast. The other one moves slow. Watch the Planet of Twin video to see a sample of the fun projects students can make with Scratch Jr.

Coding Apps for Kids and Scratch Jr

Are you interested in coding apps for kids? Scratch Jr is a free app designed to introduce programming to children in Grades 1-3. It can be used to teach basic computer science concepts. Primary and elementary students will have fun building animations, interactive collages, stories, and games. If you are searching for Scratch Jr lessons you may want to take a look at the TechnoWhiz technology project. It is jam-packed full of fun coding activities.

Coding Apps for Kids – Top 10 Reasons to Use Scratch Jr

There are many coding apps for kids. However, Scratch Jr has many features that make it ideal for beginners. ScratchJr is a collaboration between the DevTech Research Group at Tufts University, the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, and the Playful Invention Company. Discover 10 reasons it might be the perfect fit for your students.

1. Only One Block is Needed to Become a Programmer

Scratch Jr instantly transforms students into programmers. With virtually no effort they can create animations. This is because coding blocks can be used as action buttons. By dragging only ONE coding block into the programming area and then clicking on it, students can control the movement of a character. This immediately empowers students and makes them feel good about programming as they can watch their character walk, hop, or dance.

2. Simple Interface

The layout of the Scratch Jr window is easy to navigate. In the center of the window is the stage. It is used to arrange the characters, text, and backgrounds in a project. Below the stage, is a programming area used to build scripts. Above the stage are six tools that allow the user to set viewing options, insert objects, or play a program. To the left side of the stage are the characters in a project. To the right of the stage are the pages in a project. The uncluttered design makes it simple to identify where to complete a task.

Coding apps for kids. The Scratch Jr interface is easy for children to use.

The Scratch Jr interface is easy for children to use.

3. Color-Coded Blocks Help Beginners Locate Commands

In Scratch Jr, scripts are made by joining blocks together in the programming area. To help children locate the different commands, the blocks are sorted into six color-coded categories:

  • A Triggering block is yellow.
  • A Motion block is blue.
  • A Looks block is pink.
  • A Sounds block is green.
  • A Control block is orange.
  • An End block is red.
triggering block Triggering Blocks Pick how to start a program.
motion block Motion Blocks Move a character.
looks block Looks Blocks Change the size or hide a character.
sound block Sounds Blocks Play a pop sound or record your own.
control block Control Blocks Set the timing of an action.
end block End Blocks Pick what happens at the end of a script.

4. Coding Blocks are Designed for Early Readers

Many coding apps for kids are text-based, which requires strong reading skills. In contrast Scratch Jr is graphic-based, making it ideal for emergent readers. The coding blocks have symbols that illustrate the function. For example, the Move Left command is an arrow; the Shrink command is a tiny person, and the Wait command is a stop watch. This allows primary and elementary students with limited reading skills to identify the block they need to complete an action.

move right Move Right
shrink Shrink
wait block Wait

5. Scripts are Horizontal

Children learn how to read sentences by reading each word from left to right. This literacy concept is transferred to Scratch Jr. The coding blocks are joined together to form a horizontal line. The sequence of the actions happens from left to right. The similarity to reading words in a sentence makes it easier for young coders to understand how to build and edit scripts. Some coding apps for kids stack coding blocks from top to bottom, whereas Scratch Jr recognizes the importance of creating horizontal scripts.

Scratch jr script

Scripts are read from left to right.

6. Coding Block Turns a Different Color to Help with Debugging

Scratch Jr provides visual cues to help students debug a script. Debugging is finding and correcting programming errors. When students are testing their program, they can see both the stage and the programming area. The action that is currently happening on the stage is highlighted by darkening the active coding block in the script. This helps to identify the location of a scripting error.

active coding block

The active coding block darkens when a script is running.

7. Visual Cues Identify Active Character

A Scratch Jr project can have many characters, which can be a source of confusion. To avoid editing the script of the wrong one, visual cues communicate which character is selected. In the window, the active character appears on an orange background. In addition, the programming area displays a grayscale illustration of the character. These hints remind young coders about which script they are building or editing. When reviewing coding apps for kids, the use of visual cues is an important factor.

scratch jr multiple characters

Visual cues help students identify the active character.

8. Grid Helps Students Intentionally Move a Character

In Scratch Jr, the value of each Motion block can be set to control the number of steps a character moves. To determine the correct amount, a grid can be shown. It contains a vertical and horizontal number line. The location of the character is identified on the number line using blue circles. On some devices, squares are overlaid on the stage, which makes it easy to count the number of steps.

count and code

A grid helps to set the value of Motion blocks to direct movement.

9. Character Library Provides Creative Opportunities

The Scratch Jr Character library offers a range of choices, without being overwhelming. There are many cartoon creatures, animals, people, objects, buildings, and vehicles. This variety makes it possible to create unique animations or games. Another benefit is that some of the characters have blank faces. These can be edited to include a webcam photo of the student.

The Character library offers many choices.

10. Background Library Provides Curriculum Ties

The Scratch Jr Background library has many images that can be used as scenery. For example, there are farm, city, home, underwater, school, and space themed backdrops. Aside from illustrating the setting, the backgrounds can also be used to teach concepts such as animal habitats or seasons. As well, many of the backgrounds can be used to practice mapping skills. Students can select a point in the picture and code a character to move to that location.

background library

The Background library provides images with curriculum ties.

TechnoWhiz Coding Lessons for Kids

If you want to use Scratch Jr but are not sure how to get started, take a look at TechnoWhiz. It is a technology project published by TechnoKids Inc., with Scratch Jr coding lessons. It introduces students to programming fundamentals in a way that is easy to understand. The whiz kids create silly animated scenes, design a pet monster game, and build a magical land. Have fun developing computational thinking and spark an interest in computer science concepts.

scratch jr lessons

TechnoWhiz has Scratch Jr lessons for kids.

Differentiated Instruction and TechnoKids

differentiated instruction

Every time teachers step into their classrooms, they face the evidence of the need for differentiated instruction. Each student arrives at school at a different starting point: a certain attitude of readiness for learning, an individual style of acquiring knowledge, and a distinct level of mastery of concepts. Multiply these three factors by the number of students in the classroom. The resulting figure is daunting but makes it obvious that ‘one teaching method fits all’ isn’t a practical strategy.

Differentiated instruction recognizes and supports individual differences in learning by using a variety of teaching strategies. There are so many options and resources available today that we can adjust for the diverse abilities, needs, learning styles, and interests of our students. As teachers, our goal is to optimize student growth and success at all levels of ability, not simply to achieve or reach a standardized benchmark. Teach every student.

Brain based learning studies support a variety of instructional strategies. As students make connections between what they already know and their new learning, interconnections in neural pathways are formed. As a result, information is stored in multiple areas. Meaning and retention are both enhanced.

In teaching ICT, we have lots of ways of tailoring instruction to meet individual needs. TechnoKids project-based computer lessons support differentiated instruction with student resources, teaching strategies, and assessment tools.

Process

Differentiated instruction requires that we provide a variety of learning opportunities. Students should be able to build a repertoire of tools. They can accommodate their own preferred styles of learning, as well as recognize and build skills in their individual areas of weakness.

TechnoKids project-based learning supports the process of learning using differentiated instruction:

  • Vary learning tools. Integrate technology and use the computer as an alternative and additional tool.
  • Target different senses with multiple instructional strategies. TechnoKids Student Workbooks engage students by reading written instructions, studying illustrations that support text, looking at infographics, and handling manipulatives such as TechnoKids tool flashcards. Sample files have students listen to audio and watch video. Brain based learning studies show that most of us learn best when the kinesthetic senses are used – doing, handling, building. Robotics projects prepare students to build STEM skills and support hands-on learning. TechnoKids Teacher Guides provide teaching strategies, technology integration ideas, and assessment tools.
  • Chunk material into manageable parts. TechnoKids projects are divided into smaller sessions or assignments. In this way, a complex task becomes doable.
  • Present learning tasks in graphic organizers. When students create a plan of their ideas for a an inquiry, TechnoKids projects often have them use a chart, brain storming web, or mind map to outline and develop their proposals.
  • Repeat to reinforce. Students build skills through practice, so Skill Reviews and Extension Activities allow for repetition.
  • Allow students to work at different paces. By using the pdf or print copies of TechnoKids workbooks, individual students can complete the activities on their own timeline.
  • Mix up individual and group collaboration. Individual, pair, small group, and whole class activities should all be part of classroom experiences. Flexible grouping allows students with similar learning styles to work together.

Content

Recognize that students have different levels of familiarity with concepts before a lesson is taught. Differentiate activities by designing assignments that cover various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy, from remembering (lowest level) to evaluating (highest level).

  • Give students the big picture. Most TechnoKids resource files include a number of samples of completed projects. Seeing and reviewing a finished project solution motivates students, builds interest, and provides a clear example of what is being assigned.
  • Provide a starting point. A number of TechnoKids projects, especially primary level projects, include templates. Students can focus on the technology and learning skills without getting bogged down in the less critical details of setting up a document.
  • Combine methods of instruction. Blend a mixture of teacher directed, print, video, and any other instructional techniques. This serves the purpose of both maintaining student engagement as well as appealing to diverse learning styles.

Product

The final creation or solution to an inquiry process should be interdisciplinary and open-ended. Allow students to build on their learning style strengths by offering choices. Self directed learning allows for students to work independently and develop critical skills such as organization, creativity, judgement, and persistence.

  • Build engagement by offering choices. Involve students by encouraging them to pitch their own ideas for projects. TechnoKids projects allow for creative thinking and open-ended learning experiences.
  • Offer a variety of outputs. When students are given options, they take more responsibility for their learning and become more engaged. TechnoKids projects may be a presentation, visual art, timeline, graphic story, newsletter, questionnaire, blog, interactive map, animation, and many more!
  • Provide opportunities for assorted types of assessment. TechnoKids grading tools include student, peer, and teacher checklists, rubrics, rating scales, marking sheets, and skill summaries.
  • Incorporate reflection. Summarize learning, process new learning, identify areas for improvement, and set goals. Many TechnoKids projects contain a reflection component in a final celebration of learning.