Teaching game design using Scratch

I’ve just finished teaching a unit on coding and game design using Scratch. My students are in Year 5, 10-11 years of age and below is a video showing examples of some of the games they coded and designed. Below I have explained how my students achieved this.

To begin with, I asked students to download Scratch so that we could work with the off line version. I did this so that students could explore Scratch at home without using any Internet, and  I wanted to get straight into it, rather than having to go through the legalities of signing up for an online account, which I will explain later. Then, rather than going through each of the blocks (ie, motion, events, control etc) I guided them so that each student could make their own maze game. I modelled each step on the interactive TV and students followed my instructions on their own device. I have created a video for teachers on ‘How to make a maze game using Scratch‘ and you can download Scratch maze code explained-1nxjynz  .

Then I showed students how to change the background and import audio. We revisited copyright and creative commons (I had taught this previously), and explained that they were only allowed to use Royalty Free images and audio. The websites students used to access such material include: (1) Images: Pixabay.com ,  Pics4Learning.com  and PhotoPin.com (2) Audio: SoundBible.com , PurplePlanet.com and BenSound.com . Students were asked to create a maze game with a theme, at least 3 different levels which get progressively harder, scoring and audio.

I then sent home a parental consent form for Scratch, for students to get signed and returned to school. As students in my class are under 13 years of age, parental permission is needed before any student can sign up for a Scratch account. As a class, I guided students to create their own Scratch account using a fake Scratch name. Their fake Scratch name needed to be identifiable by myself and peers, yet unidentifiable to the public. I also spent a lot of time showing students how to turn off commenting on their games. Once students had created their account, I invited them as curators to my class studio. This enabled them to share their games with the rest of the class.

Students spent some time exploring and playing other people’s Scratch games online. Then I gave them their task which was to create a Scratch game which has a theme, multiple levels, a scoring system and audio. I also gave them their Scratch Game Assessment Rubric-1rh4cn3 . Students worked on their games and made games like the ones shown in the video above.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? To me it does, as I’ve been teaching Scratch for a while now. However, I must admit, each year I teach Scratch I get better and this is reflected in the games which students create. If Scratch is new to you, I highly recommend the book, Scratch for Kids by Derek Breen.




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