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Career presentation to 7th graders.

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3 replies [Last post]
Jeffrey Harper



My 7th grade son is taking a career decisions class.  I've been invited to give a presentation about my career.  I'm a computer programmer. I'd like to incorporate Scratch into my presentation; but I don't know what activities would be appropriate for an hour long presentation to 12 and 13 year olds.

The teacher said she has several students who are into computers.  Originally, I contemplated demonstrating some simple things with Scratch and giving the kids a link to the Scratch website, so they could try it out on their own.  The teacher, who has taken programming courses, suggested I let the kids type in a program into Windows Notepad.  I told her about Scratch and suggested we use it, instead.

So, she downloaded and tried Scratch, and arranged to install Scratch on 26 computers so her class of 33 students could have a hands-on experience with Scratch.  Obviously, there's a world of difference between demonstrating Scratch and leading what is essentially a lab class with Scratch;  I'm somewhat intimidated. 

I would like to give the kids the basic idea of a step-by-step algorithm with loops.  But, I don't want to make it so complicated that the kids get bogged down or bored.  I'm thinking about leading the kids through Scratch Getting Stated.  I'd be very grateful for any suggestions on good activities for this presentation, comments on what to expect, warnings of problems to be prepared for, etc.

Jeffrey Harper



Thanks for the links.  The presentation went well and the kids loved Scratch.  My original idea was to walk the kids through the Scratch Getting Started guide.  After reading the thread, "How do you introduce Scratch to beginners?" I changed my approach. 

Instead of a step-by-step walk through, I decided to demonstrate Scratch quickly and then get out of their way.  On the overhead projector, I demonstrated blocks to move the sprites, turn, and then draw a square.  Then, I showed them a game I wrote in Scratch (without going into detail of how the game worked) to give the kids an idea of what Scratch can do.  Then, we passed out copies of the Scratch Getting Started guide and turned them loose on the computers.    After that, I answered a few questions that came up.

Some of the kids followed the Scratch Getting Started guide; but, most of them quickly took off in their own direction.  It was a lot of fun to walk to each work station and see what the kids were doing.

The most common question was, “Where is the web site where I can download Scratch.”  I'm glad that I read the thread and changed my approach.  Thanks a bunch. 


Karen Brennan

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for sharing the update about how the session went. I'm glad to hear that it was successful!



Karen Brennan

An introductory activity that I've done numerous times is Pass It On, which is described in the Scratch workshop design guide. Basically, I demo creating a story with Scratch: one character who moves a bit and says something, a background, another character arrives and responds to the first character. Then the participants start creating their own stories for five minutes, then they rotate to a new computer and extend the story they find there for five minutes, then rotate and extend one final time.

You might also be interested in this thread: How do you introduce Scratch to beginners?

I hope that helps -- let us know how it goes!