STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Do you know Scratch?


If you don’t know Scratch, you don’t know what you’re missing!  Developed at the MIT Media Lab, with financial support from the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Intel Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Google, Iomega and MIT Media Lab research consortia, Scratch is an easy, open source  programming language that can be used to program almost anything the imagination can conjure!

To give you an example — several years ago, without any help from me, my son drew a picture on MS Paint, and used Scratch to animate it.  The picture is below. If you click on it, you can view the image in Scratch and watch the man take a bite of the hamburger, chew, swallow, drink soda, swallow, and return to smiling.

Scratch Project

Click to view the project on Scratch, then click the green flag to animate it!

Fast food

The colored lines in the left frames are the lines of code required to animate the drawing.

My son created this by himself while in elementary school.  Imagine what he could have created if the following book had been available!

Super Scratch Programming Adventure! Learn to Program by Making Cool Games!  LEAD Project, 2012, No Starch Press.

Super Scratch Programming Adventure! is part instruction manual and part graphic novel. Mitch and Scratchy are trapped in a battle with the Dark Wizard and his Minions. You, the reader, can extradite them from predicaments using Scratch.  The story may not be engrossing, but it is a novel and entertaining way to introduce step-by-step coding instructions.  The reader is simultaneously creating video games and inhabiting one.  By the end of each of the book’s ten chapters, the reader will have a fully functioning game created from scratch (both literally and figuratively), with each chapter building upon knowledge from previous chapters.

The game I was creating with Super Scratch Programming Adventure! is lost to a pre-Superstorm Sandy computer, however, I can attest to the fact that it was fun, easy and satisfying.

The book is available in print or ebook (PDF) format.

Click here for a sample chapter from Super Scratch Programming Adventure!

Classroom teachers may not have the available time to devote to programming with Scratch, but they should certainly become familiar with it. Computer club advisers, homeschoolers, scouting groups, and parents of young “tech geeks” should not waste a minute in checking out Scratch’s infinite possibilities.  Suggested for ages 8 and up.

A sample of the games that can be created using Super Scratch Programming Adventure!

From the Scratch website:

“Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web. As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.”

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4 thoughts on “Do you know Scratch?

  1. A graphic novel and programming language all in one package – what a cool idea. I know my kids would have loved this!
    I’ve got a couple of posts for STEM Friday. Over at Sally’s Bookshelf, a review of “On the Move, Mass Migrations”
    And at Archimedes Notebook it’s all about trees: Arbor day, get to know a tree, and how leaves inspired one young man to develop a model for solar energy collection.

  2. What a GREAT resource! Thanks for sharing! At Booktalking, I’m reading Peep Leap by Elizabeth Verdick

  3. Wow, oh wow! The book and programming language are such cool finds! What an innovative idea for a how-to.

    I’m “adding” a short blurb about the counting book “One Gorilla” this morning

  4. Lisa,

    I just heard about Scratch from a colleague last week. Thank you for sharing this resource! At NC Teacher Stuff, I am featuring My First Big Book of Space: