A Beginner’s Guide to Scratch

By The Programming Teaching Assistant at

Ivy Seed Academy

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Oct. 25.    5 min read

So, you want to start learning programming languages? Awesome move.

Whether you are wanting to design and build your own games, gain creative computation concept and logical thinking ability, or you are looking for a community and friends with common interests, you are in the right place.


I was first introduced to programming with Scratch when I was in fifth grade. Since middle school, I have been teaching programming for around five years. I recommend you start learning programming from Scratch if you do not have any previous experience because it is both educational and fun to use.

There are so many reasons out there for kids to learn programming, so the only question is, “Why use Scratch?”


Scratch is great for children, because it was literally designed to target young programmers! I think Scratch succeeded, because it is easy to use, completely free, and overall good for programming.

1. Easy to Use


Instead of writing down lines upon lines of text, you can drag “blocks” of code onto a board, which makes it nicely organized, easy to read, and completes the idea that there is order. Here are three steps to show how simple Scratch is: 1. Drag and drop; 2. Choose types of blocks; 3. Snap blocks together to create a script.

2. Completely Free


Another great thing about Scratch is that it is completely free. All you have to do to start programming is look up “Scratch.mit.edu” on a web browser and create an account. It gets even better because it’s also completely free to share your project with the world, so other people can try out your projects, give feedback on them, and even improve them!

3. Overall Good for Programming


Finally, I made the point of its overall programming use. Most people may believe that Scratch is not as powerful as programming languages like JavaScript or Python, because of its cartoon-like looks, but that’s not completely the case. In my time using Scratch I learned many things and built many games and decided that Scratch is still pretty good at running code. In the past, I have been creating a good deal of games, like “Asteroids” and a remake of “Antechambers”. Furthermore, I have seen other people do amazing things too! One person (Ellie) created a rotating 3-D cube, in which a player must flip gravity to get to the end of a level. For the three main reasons, I believe that scratch is the best possible programming tool for kids to learn and encourage them to enjoy learning it too.

Now, what is Scratch?


Scratch is a free online programming tool/website, designed for ages 8-16, but is used commonly by most ages. One good thing about Scratch is that it is very easy to understand. To begin programming, you simply drag ‘blocks’ of code onto a board, where they snap into place to form a string of commands. You can use Scratch for many things, ranging from creating arcade games, making an animation or even doing your homework for you! Overall, Scratch is a great programming tool, easy to use, with few limitations, and free!

What can Scratch do? Keeping up with most of your ideas, and additionally saving you lots of time, money, and confusion.


While Scratch does have some limitations, it can still be used to complete many tasks quickly, in which people may struggle to complete in other programming languages. This is something that I personally know is true, because of my past experiences with languages such as JavaScript, or Python. One example of this is animating. In Scratch, you can simply draw up a few pictures, and piece them together with an easy “change costume” command. Scratch has a way of simplifying programming into something that is easy to understand without losing functionality.

Overall, Scratch can keep up with most of your ideas, and additionally saves you lots of time, money, and confusion. It is always changing, and is becoming more advanced as time goes on, so programmers never run out of things to do!

 

Some things I’ve used Scratch for was to make funny animations to entertain large groups, design useful calculators to assist in my schoolwork, and most recently I even used Scratch to get myself a job as a high school student!

 

Aside from personal interests, Scratch can be used as a base guide to learning other programming languages too! Scratch has a built-in sort of translator, which can ‘translate’ blocks like “repeat ten times” into code that works in some languages like JavaScript or Python, so not only do you get the advantage of having an understanding about programming, but you can literally ‘translate’ your projects into another language block by block.

Now I get to let you know what skills programming taught me.

 

Learning programming has a way of changing how you think. In order to do any good, you have to start thinking creatively and become more adaptive. If a program doesn’t work there is always a reason why. It is up to you to either figure out what’s wrong and fix it or come up with a new method to achieve your goal. By identifying the problem in a program and coming up with a solution for it, you start to think more adaptively. By coming up with new methods to achieve a goal, you start thinking more creatively. This means that no matter what problems you come across, programming will always be able to improve your life skills.

Ivy-seed Courses 

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Ivy Seed is an online STEM coding education platform providing online coding classes and summer programs for kids 6-18. We are dedicated to providing a high quality and broad curriculum. Our program development team is from MIT and Stanford University. Presently we serve students from the United States, Chili, Turkey, China, South Korea and India. 

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