Tag Archives: coding

Scratch Activities, About the Stage, Draw with the Pen

When completing Scratch activities your students will benefit from understanding ordered pairs. This is a mathematical concept that is often not taught until the higher grades. However, it is knowledge that will help young programmers. It can be used to place sprites on the stage by setting the x and y values. It also helps when debugging scripts to determine why the positioning or movement is incorrect.

NOTE: The information in this blog article is from TechnoCode. TechnoCode includes Scratch activities that are ideal for beginners.

X and Y Coordinates

When you place a character on the stage, the Sprite pane shows x and y coordinates. They tell where the sprite is on the stage. If you drag the sprite, the numbers change because the position is now different.

Scratch activities

The X and Y coordinates tell where a sprite is on the stage.

Many Scratch coding blocks list x and y values. These coding blocks can be used to tell a character where to go on the stage.

go to x y  

How do you know the value of x and y? Where do you get the numbers?

About the Scratch Stage

You cannot see it – but the Scratch stage is divided into four parts. This is done using two number lines.

  • The x number line goes from left to right. It tells where a sprite is on the stage horizontally.
  • The y number line goes from top to bottom. It tells where a sprite is on the stage vertically.
  • The center of the stage is where the two number lines meet.
stage - Scratch activities for kids

The Scratch stage is divided into four parts.

What Is the X and Y Value?

Each part of the stage is made up of dots. Each dot has an x value and a y value that tell its location on the stage.

  • The x value tells you how many steps to move right or left from the center point. If the number is positive, move right. If it is negative, move left
  • The y value tells you how many steps to move up or down from the center point. If the number is positive, move up. If it is negative, move down.

Look at the picture below. Where is the dot on the stage? First, count across to get the x value. Then count up or down to get the y value. It is at x: 150, y: 100.

Scratch stage with dot

Where is the dot on the stage?

Where Is the Sprite on the Stage?

The x number line starts at -240 and ends at 240.

The y number lines starts at -180 and ends at 180.

By setting the x and y value for a coding block, you can place a sprite at a specific spot on the stage. For example:

  center of stage    x: 0 and y: 0

  right edge of stage    x: 240 and y: 0

  left edge of stage    x: -240 and y: 0

  top edge of stage    x: 0 and y: 180

  bottom edge of stage    x: 0 and y: -180

Scratch Activities for Kids – Use the Pen to Learn About X and Y

This activity is an excerpt from TechnoCode. The Scratch lesson includes four drawing activities designed to help students comprehend X and Y coordinates.

Drawing in Scratch is like doing a dot-to-dot puzzle. To draw a picture, build a script that puts the pen down at the first dot. Then move the pen from one dot to next. Try it!

Look at the picture of the Scratch stage. What are the x and y coordinates for each dot?

What are the X and Y values for each dot?

How to Draw a Square in Scratch

  1. Start a new Scratch project. Name it square.
  2. Select a sprite to use as a drawing tool.
  3. Resize the sprite to make it small.
  4. Delete Sprite 1.
  5. Click Add Extension. Select Pen.
  6. Build the script:

    About the script: Start when Go is clicked. Move to the first dot. Put the pen down to draw. Draw from one dot to another. See the square for 3 seconds. Erase the square.

Draw a square.

Scratch Activities – Sketch a Drawing

Drawing a picture in Scratch is like doing a dot-to-dot puzzle. In a dot-to-dot, each dot is numbered. A line joins one dot to the next. The lines form a picture.

Use your skills to make your own picture. Pick a suggestion or come up with your own idea.

  • triangle
  • rectangle
  • house
  • letter (T or E)
  • zig zag line

Download the Scratch Stage Worksheet

Download the Scratch Stage Worksheet. Sketch your idea for a drawing. Circle the “dot” at the beginning and at the end of each line. List the x and y values for each “dot” in the order they should be drawn.

TIP: Write pen up after a “dot” or x y value that should not have a line drawn to the next “dot” or x y value in the list.

Download the Scratch Stage Worksheet to plan your drawing.

Do You Need Help? Build the Script in Scratch

Are you stuck for ideas? If you are not sure what to draw, try building this script. What does it make? Use your coding skills to plan your own drawing.

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Want More Scratch Activities?

TechnoCode has over 30 assignments that explain step-by-step how to create animated scenes, games, and puzzles. Discover the fun you can have with Scratch!

TechnoCode

TechnoCode is jam-packed full of Scratch activities.

Coding Lessons for Scratch 3

Do you want coding lessons for Scratch 3? Great news! TechnoKids just published TechnoCode for Scratch 3. It is jam-packed full of programming activities for students in elementary and middle school.

Scratch 3 is an app that allows kids, especially those aged 8-16, to program their own creations by sequencing coding blocks together. It is a fun way to have students build scripts that control the movement and appearance of characters. It can be used to make interactive stories, games, puzzles, artwork, music, and more!

If you want your students to design their own unique programs, TechnoCode might be right for you. The coding lessons for Scratch 3 support independent learning. You can use the instructional materials to teach a coding unit, computer science class, or workshop series.

Whether you purchase TechnCode or design your own coding lessons for Scratch 3, make the instructional goal to develop a deep understanding of programming. To achieve this aim, divide each project into four parts: Exploration, Practice, Freestyle, and Reflection. This approach will gradually transform your students into programmers. Instead of mindlessly copying scripts, they will independently create their own unique programs.

coding lessons for scratch 3

Have students think like programmers.

Tips for Designing Coding Lessons for Scratch 3

Follow these tips to support the learning process:

Understand It, Before Building It

It is tempting to supply a bunch of scripts that students copy to make a project in Scratch. Instantly it appears as if you have a class full of programmers! Stories, games, and puzzles are quickly made. The downside to this approach is that students may not comprehend what they have built or why it works. When teaching programming to kids it is recommended that you begin with the basics and gradually build in complexity.

Exploration

To start, use guided discovery to develop an understanding of the function of coding blocks. When students are learning how to code, it is essential that they recognize the purpose of commonly used Scratch blocks. This knowledge will allow them to select the appropriate block and sequence instructions correctly to complete a task. This awareness also highlights creative possibilities when designing a project.

There are over 70 coding blocks in Scratch. They are organized in categories based on their purpose. If your students are beginners, they do not need to know them all. However, many are essential for building simple scripts. Use questioning techniques to help your students learn how to complete common tasks.

Not sure where to start? Consider the questions you can pose for the move 10 steps block:

  • From the Motion palette, can you find the block that will move a sprite 10 steps?
  • What happens if you change the number of steps to 200? Or -50?
  • How many steps does it take your sprite to walk across the stage?

Want help? TechnoCode includes introductory activities that have students discover the purpose of coding blocks. They explore the program to answer questions. This investigation helps students to construct their understanding of which blocks they can use to solve a problem or do an action.

Practice

Learning how to code, is like learning any other subject – it takes time and practice! Once students know the function of coding blocks, they can start to build scripts that have a specific purpose. TechnoCode has coding lessons for Scratch 3 with step-by-step instructions. The assignments explain how to sequence coding blocks to construct fun projects such as an animated scene or story.

When teaching how to code using Scratch 3, begin by demonstrating how to build a script. It is a good idea to use natural language during this task to explain what is happening at each step. For example, “When the green flag is clicked, the character will move ten steps to the right, say Hi, and then play a meow sound.”

scratch 3 script

Describe what will happen in the script.

Provide sample scripts that students can re-create. Afterwards, have them customize the settings, rearrange the order, or add additional blocks to personalize the action. This will help your students gain confidence as they thoughtfully build scripts. Repetition is important. Students cannot learn how to code by building a script only once.

Freestyle

Once students know how to sequence instructions they are ready to freestyle. Freestyle doesn’t mean randomly snapping together coding blocks. Happy accidents are great! It can be fun to get unexpected results that look fantastic when coding using Scratch 3. However, the instructional goal should be to have students intentionally build scripts.

Freestyle means uniquely applying coding skills to achieve a specific goal with limited guidance. This instructional approach has students develop their own method for completing a task. It gives them an opportunity to consolidate learning and transfer skills.

think like a programmer

Have students apply coding skills to build their own scripts.

When freestyling, the assignment could be open-ended. For example, “Create an animated scene”. However, if you are teaching beginners, this might be too broad. Instead, you may wish to narrow the focus of the activity. Provide students with a problem they must solve using their existing knowledge.

In TechnoCode, students are given freestyling challenges to complete. This helps students apply their coding skills in a new way. For example:

  • In your animated scene, the character makes a sound effect. Can you add a music track that plays throughout the entire scene?
  • In your story, the character sends a message to a friend using broadcasting. Can you add another object that does an action when the same broadcasted message is sent?
  • In your game, the character scores a point when it hits a target. Can you add another target that when touched causes the character to lose a point? Or can you add a second target that is worth more points?
  • Reflection

    Finally, the Scratch project is complete. Before moving onto the next coding project or curriculum unit, take the time to reflect upon the experience. This will provide students with the opportunity to acknowledge their success, recognize their progress, and generate new ideas for future learning. This can be done using a worksheet, coding journal entry, or Scratch project presentation.

    TechnoCode Has Coding Lessons for Scratch 3

    TechnoCode has coding lessons for Scratch 3. It is a technology project that uses this four part approach. The goal of the activities is not to simply make things in Scratch 3. Instead, the objective is to have students think like programmers as they develop coding solutions. Reviews, skill reviews, and extension activities support learning.

    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.