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A New Resource for teaching Scratch to kids ages 5-8

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14 replies [Last post]
Crystal Noel


My name is Crystal, and I am a current freshman at MIT.  I have been working as a research student in the Lifelong Kindergarten group for the past month.  I have created a new resource for teaching Scratch to kids ages 5-8. It is a series of activities and pointers for teaching Scratch to young students.  After these activities alone, the students will have enough tools to create their own stories.  I work through the creation of a simple underwater scene to show how Scratch can be made easy for kids in this age group.  As an educator, you need only minimal experience in Scratch to be able to use this resource.

Here is a link to my preliminary draft:

New Resource

I would love some feedback! Tell me what you think!



Yong Tan
This is great and thanks for sharing! 
Debbie Steuart
Nice Job.  Simple to follow as a starting point.  thanks for sharing
Alaina Morris
Hi Crystal! 

I am a junior at Xavier and we just did a Scratch activity in my instructional technology class! I like your idea of implementing it into the younger grades! Its a great way for kids to get engaged! We created our own Scratch game and so did students at a near by school and we posted them on a board and we played each other's games! They were in fifth grade I believe and their games were a lot better than mine! I just feel like some of the things on Scratch are hard to manipulate. I know its all about coding but what do you think should be done for students who cannot grasp the coding? 

Zohair Abu Shaban
Is the resource still available via a different link? The link above is broken. Cheers.
Alexa Kutler
Hi Zohair!
Here is the correct link:

I’d also recommend you check out the Teaching with Scratch Facebook Group, where you can engage other scratch educators from around the world on similar topics. 

I hope this is helpful!


Diego Cardalliaguet
Hi there,
the link to the PDF document is not working anymore. Can I get it elsewhere?

Thanks in advance!
Vicky Sedgwick
Christopher Hampson

 Fantastic! I agree with the comment about adding time markers. Getting young kids engaged in Scratch seems always to involve helping them to finish a short project quickly. Maybe build in the notion of "versions." So after a few steps, they finish and we congratulate them, but then we say, "How about we go for Version #2?" That's another element of the modern design process taught!



Pratibha Srinivasan

 Hi Crystal

This is terrific. I really like the way you have tried to incorporate language and vocabulary. I work with young children who have a hearing loss -- but we don't use sign language and I teach them to listen and speak. They are usually learning language and I use scratch to help make language concepts clear, but also to help them recognize the representation of these language concepts in different ways. e.g. the use of 'when', while and "if.."  syntax in english. 

I am currently trying to match some of the scratch commands with english syntactical structures and examples. Your project really is on that track and extremely useful for young children!  Hope you continue elaborating on the project. Maybe examples of social studies and science material , associated language and how it can be taught using scratch. 


Thanks again for your work!!

Caroline Mee

This is a great resource Crystal. It will be very well received by the teachers in my school.

I introduced Scratch in school as part of a child - led topic week  during the first week back in January. Like you the first consideration for me was the vocabulary that the children would use. Amazing how quickly newly introduced terms become part of their retained vocabulary!

As the children had never come across anything like this before, the first activity I did was to give them a sheet of printed out commands from each of the blocks (a bit like lego building blocks). In the hall we then acted out the role of the sprite (which was only allowed to follow the commands they were holding).

All the group were familiar with paint and I didn't need to tell them how to create sprites or stages, they just experimented. I think that is where their generation benefits... they have no fear of technology... unlike the teachers who currently know less than the pupils - so I will be distributing your resource in the hope they feel more confident working with it in class.

I am hoping to get some students entering the schools computer animation awards (UK)

I enjoy using Scratch as a teaching tool. Although I have not been using it for long I can quickly create animations and games targeted at bridging gaps in their learning.

Crystal Noel


Thank you for the detailed feedback! I found some of your questions very helpful while refining my resource.

I hope I can help with your concern about "getting the fish moving."  When you are starting in Scratch, make it clear that the goal is to make the computer do things for you.  The goal is to make the computer do what you want.

I think if you take on the challenge of teaching kids ages 5-8 that they are more than capable of grasping many difficult programming concepts.  Even those students that lack basic reading skills might surprise you with their skills and understanding in Scratch.

I hope that you find my soon to come revision of the resource helpful. Good luck in your Scratch endeavors!

- Crystal

Bernd Gärtner

Thanks, Crystal, this is very interesting, and I really like the setup! I'm currently targeting age group 10-12, but I would also like to work with smaller children in the future. Here are my comments:

- It would be good to roughly indicate  in the resource how much time each exploration will take.

- I like the opening activity a lot and I would definitely do it.

- I think it's good to defer the green flag to the challenging explorations. I think understanding the difference between preview mode and presentation mode is not  easy, and working in preview mode only avoids this issue

- Exploration 1: when you say to the children "let's get the fish moving", the natural reflex of many is to drag it around on the screen - task accomplished. How do you explain to them that this is not the point? I haven't come up with a convincing answer to this yet. If you have an answer, it would be very good to put it into the resource.

- Exploration 1 again: I think "move 10 steps" can be explained easily, but how about "turn 15 degrees"? Are you talking about the 15 at all, or do you use "turn 15 degrees" as a black box that just does some turning? It would be useful also here  to have a hint for the teacher in the resource.

- Exploration 6: this seems a pretty tough one to me. In most programming languages, it is natural to do if-then-else  before loops, but in Scratch, that doesn't apply. The "forever" block is arguably simpler than if-then, as there is no condition. Even for ages 10-12, I'm starting with "forever". For example, you could make the fish move forever and combine it with "bounce on edge" to create a very simple yet natural animation of the fish swimming back and forth. Also, I could imagine that the touching-color block together with if-then is over the heads of most 5-8 year old, but in order to really tell this, I don't have enough experience. I'm planning to test it with my 7-year old daughter.

- General: When teaching Scratch, is it about Scratch, or about programming concepts? My approach is to teach concepts, and I'm using Scratch as an excellent tool to do it. I think that any resource should carefully reflect on what it is trying to teach. You are saying in the overview that "students will have enough tools to create their own stories", and that they can "express themselves". It's clear to me what you mean, but if I wanted to be picky, I could say that they don't need Scratch for that. Paper and crayons as in the opening activity would be completely sufficient. What you are really doing is teaching concepts that enable the students to express themselves in a programming language rather than the paper-crayon language. And you can name these concepts: (i) statement (makes the computer do something for you instead of doing it yourself); (ii) script/program (sequence of statements executed in top-down order) , and so on. I'm not suggesting that you rename "Motion: Move and Turn" to something fancy involving the term statement, but I do suggest to add a paragraph for the teacher where you make the concepts taught in every exploration explicit. In Exploration 1, it's exactly (i) and (ii) above (snapping statements together to form a script). 

Thanks again for sharing this resource!

Best, Bernd.

Carl Bogardus

Excellent suggestions, these changes will help reach this age of students and their teachers.

Mike Dawson


Much appreciated that you take the time to put that together and share it.  I was contemplating how to get teachers and students started using Scratch here (in Afghanistan) and this is a really nice starting point for lessons.

Perhaps you should add this resource to OER commons / Merlot etc?  I was quite surprised to find that the OER repos really don't feature that many Scratch resources compared to how many great already existing Scratch projects there are to demonstrate in  an interactive way many key curriculum concepts.   Lots of Java applets.. not many Scratch links.

I would definitely like to use this as a starting point - perhaps we find something that people are going to be more familiar with here than fish as this is a landlocked place...  Let's see...