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Speed Racer - a 1-hour Scratch introduction

A quick and fun introduction to Scratch that introduces motion, loops, variables and other topics. Should take about an hour.

 This handout is what I use for my Scratch introduction.  It takes about an hour and gets people to have a playable game in about 20 minutes (with the rest of the time for extending the original game).  Before this I like to introduct the Scratch interface and the idea of scripting (how can you make the cat look like he is running?).  Then we start on Speed Racer. You can do this in an hour - our extend it much more.  There are lots of ways to build on this game (some suggestions are listed on the handout)

Originally I developed this as part of my ScratchScience curriculum because it introduces speed as a variable.  But it was so much fun I have been using it with lots of different groups.

The game introduces:

  • costumes and backgrounds
  • starting scripts on keystrokes
  • forever loop
  • motion
  • variables
  • broadcast

Credit to Kim Rose and Alan Kay who did the original version of this project in Squeak/EToys.  I did take out the steering wheel (although that is a cool thing too).


Other Files: 
James Tiffin Jr

Thanks for posting this great idea Brian.  It looks like a sweet and simple way to add variables and broadcasts to the students' Scratch skill set.

The other nice part is the reinforcement of the idea of negative numbers and what they do when you add them to values, which is what's happening with the speed variable.  I'm currently helping 4th graders learn their way around Scratch, and their actual arithmetic work with negatives is non-existent.  They know what negative numbers are, at least in the context of temperature and such, but this is a new idea. 

Their first real taste of the negative arithmetic came from putting together that simple dancing cat script shown in the Scratch Introduction video.  Fortunately, you've provided a very natural way to continue developing a conceptual understanding of such arithmetic using a (virtual) concrete example... perfect for these learners!

Thanks again for sharing!

Sandy Coleman

 Thanks for posting Brian.  I will be using this tomorrow with my students. 


Allyssa Andersen

 Thanks for the post, Brian!  I'm going to use this today with my kids.

Pat James

 Hi Brian, loved your 3 pager on the car racing game.  It is great intro material.  I used it as part of an after school Scratch program I run at a school in Seattle, blogged here.