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Minute of Code: Museum Party

Don't have an hour to code? Try a "Minute of Code".
Hello everyone! I am a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education developing what I call a "Minute of Code" Scratch activity. There are many wonderful workshops and outlines that delineate how to teach Scratch over the course of an hour, a day, or a week. When “Hour of Code” was being advertised, I thought—what if you don’t have an entire hour available? I work at the Museum of Science in Boston where my interactions with visitors are usually on the time scale of minutes, and I decided to create a much shorter facilitated activity that teaches visitors about Scratch and still leads to a meaningful learning experience. I didn’t necessarily need a visitor to come away having learned how to program, but rather having gained interest in programming.

I divided my project into three main sections. The first part of my project involved seeing what was currently available in terms of using Scratch in informal learning. As I wrote in a previous post, I created a summary of Scratch being used in informal settings so that I could be informed in my choices and avoid common mistakes in designing and piloting my Scratch activity.

In the next part of my project, I contacted several educators who are currently using Scratch or have used Scratch in the past in informal settings, and they were kind enough to talk to me about their experiences: Keith Braafladt (Science Museum of Minnesota), Jennifer Nelson (Minnesota State Libraries), and Taleen Gleeson (previously, Museum of Science, Boston). I wanted to learn more about what they did, why they did it that way, what they thought could be improved, and what they thought of my activity. After talking with them, I felt ready to actually make my Scratch activity and pilot it at the Museum of Science.

In the last part of my project, I spent a good amount of time brainstorming what was important to have in a “Minute of Code” activity and what could be left out. I settled on an activity that can be very basic, but, if a visitor is interested, can be expanded to grow with the visitor’s level of interest to allow the visitor to understand more of what is “underneath”. Briefly, for my activity, visitors design and program a character to participate in an animated “museum party.” At the end of the day, I post the party online, and visitors can go online, see what they and everyone else that day created, and be a part of the Scratch community. I created a video tutorial about my Scratch activity ( demonstrating how it can be used in a drop-in setting, and would be happy for any feedback. I have also attached documents that further help illustrate my setup and activity. Thus far, prototyping my activity has helped me understand what about my activity and facilitation was useful, necessary, inappropriate, etc., in my museum setting. I don’t consider my activity to be done yet — I’m still improving based on my prototyping experiences, and then plan to prototype further and continue to use my activity at the museum.
Lianka Prada
Hello, Thank you for sharing these resources. I knew about Scratch just a few days ago but I really like it. I am working on small projects for young children in order to teach programming to my older child and try to make some funny things for my younger one. Your resources are really helpful for my classes. LP
Karen Brennan
Thanks for sharing these resources!

I like how they build on your earlier resource, which summarized the ways in which Scratch is being used in informal settings.

I also like the framing and organization of the video. (I found the video so useful that I wonder if you might further highlight it by embedding it in the text!)

I look forward to seeing how people use the resource. I could imagine that people who have more than a minute for activity time would like how you used pre-made blocks.