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Lesson Ideas for Middle School Classrooms

Tom blogs about using Scratch in his middle school classroom to teach Math, Science, Language Arts, History, and for both "MH" and "Gifted" students.

In this blog posting from MSP2 (Middle School Portal 2 Math & Science Pathways), Tom Jenkins shares easy projects that he uses with all the students (600+ students in grades 5-8) he sees every year in all subjects, not just STEM courses. He also emphasizes that Scratch can be used with differentiated learning, including both "MH" and "gifted" students in his classes.


Here are his tips by subject area:

"Math is a natural fit with endless possibilities when teaching with Scratch. Time, percentages, and variables barely scratch the surface of the concepts that can be taught through this program. One can even turn the 'Background' into a giant Coordinate Plane to help demonstration motion along the X and Y Axes."


"In my Science classes, I have used Scratch to show Newton’s Laws of Motion. Students were broken off into teams and told to create an animation or a video game that demonstrated one or more laws. The only catch was that end result had to correctly reflect the mathematics behind the physics. The combination of hundreds of objects (Sprites) along with simple action/reaction types of commands allowed the students to not only demonstrate their understanding of the topic, but they were also very entertaining as well."


"Although this site is primarily meant to contain STEM type resources, I have also decided to include brief ideas for Language Arts and History for those of us that teach several subjects. Storyboarding, alternate endings, and punctuation (using the 'think' and 'say' tabs) would be a few of the concepts that would be perfectly suited for this application. On the other hand, I helped our history teacher improve an already existing project thanks to Scratch. He would have students draw and color posters to prove their understanding of events that precipitated the Revolutionary War. Now rather than hanging colored penciled drawings around the classroom to share, they presented their animated cartoons to the entire class."