Broadcasting in Scratch

BroadcastThere are two really important functions in Scratch that will help you when it comes time to code your game. This first is the use of variables and you have had a bit of an introduction to that when you finished the double jump tutorial.

The second is the idea of broadcasting. This is a way to get sprites to interact with each other by sending out (broadcasting) a message for all sprites to “hear”. Once the sprites receive that message, they can then start their own scripts.

You can use broadcasting to create an interactive animation. For example, when clicking on different objects on the screen, you can make your main character speak and spell the word for the user to see/hear. You can also use broadcasting to end a game when a player runs out of lives/health or to make a quiz game.

See if you can copy this broadcasting program that I’ve created. How can you modify it to make it more interesting? Can you add the spoken word as well as the written word? In a different project, can you make two characters interact automagically?

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/26728622/

Beginning Scratch

Scratch is a powerful programming environment that has been developed by computer scientists at MIT. Along with the actual program editor, there is a strong Scratch community.

  1. Go to http://scratch.mit.edu and join the Scratch community (top right corner of the page).
  2. There are a ton of online tutorials for learning how to program using Scratch. We will explore some of the existing projects on the site later, but for now let’s check out a few tutorials to learn some of the basics of Scratch.


 

Educational Game Design

What most schools don’t teach

As we learned from the video above, very few schools are teaching computer programming at a time when there will be more and more demand for people with computer coding experience. This project is an opportunity for you to explore the concept of coding while also using the Design Cycle to help you create a program that fulfills a purpose.

In addition to exploring the Scratch programming language and community, we will also be taking the time to “interview” students in the elementary school to get an idea of what their interests are as well as what content is appropriate.

Your task will be to design and create a simple game or activity using Scratch that can be used in the elementary school classrooms to help them learn or reinforce what they have been learning. It can be a math game, a reading quiz or maybe even a Japanese lesson. Whatever you decide to make, you should strive to make it the right level of difficulty and the right level of interest for your audience.

Statement of Inquiry:

Computer game design requires a combination of programming, story telling, and art.

Inquiry Questions:

  • Factual: How can we learn to use Scratch?
  • Debatable: Are computer games a good way to teach and/or learn in school?
  • Conceptual: How does art, technology, design and storytelling combine to make a good computer game?

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Getting Ready for the Dragon’s Arcade

On Thursday at 11:00, we will be hosting all of the kindergarten and Grade 1 students in the first ever Dragon’s Arcade. This will be a chance for them to play the educational games that you have been creating for them this semester. Some things to remember:

  • Please be set up and ready to go by 11:00. I know this cuts into your break but I will make it up to you by letting you go to lunch a few minutes early.
  • Make sure your game is published on public on the Scratch community, with appropriate instructions and acknowledgments.
  • Be sure to add the tag YIS when publishing. This will make it easier for others to find your game in the future.
  • Add the title, link and content taught of your published game on this document. I will share it with the ES teachers in case they want to easily access some of these games in the future.
  • Have fun with the ES students! Be sure to ask their opinion and to watch carefully if they have any issues understanding or playing the game. This is important information for your evaluation.

As part of your evaluation, I will also ask you to embed your game on your blog like this:

Investigation #3 – What makes a good game?

We all love playing games. They might be games on our phones like Temple Run or games on our computers like Minecraft. They might be card games like Uno or board games like chess.

As you start thinking about the game that you are going to design and create for the kindergarten students, it is important to start thinking about what makes a good game and why.

First, start by thinking about games that YOU like to play. What are they? What do you like about them?

Since we are going to use Scratch as our programming platform, it is useful to see some examples of educational games that others have created. Find at least three examples of educational games on the Scratch community and link to them. Be sure to include a brief explanation of the purpose of the game and a screenshot! What do you like about this game? What would you improve/change? Have a look at the code and see if you can understand what they have done to create the game. This is a great way to learn new coding techniques and tricks. If you like, you can also include links to other games that you have found Scratch (but only after you have found your three educational games!).

Share what you have learned/discovered in a blog post. Link to this blog post so that it creates a pingback so that others can find your post easily. Be sure to include screenshots, links and descriptions of the games so that other Grade 9s can check them out!

Image Credit: Temple Run Addict by TS Multimedia licensed under CC BY NC ND

Educational Game Design – Investigation #1: Getting to Know Scratch

Scratch is a powerful programming environment that has been developed by computer scientists at MIT. Along with the actual program editor, there is a strong Scratch community.

  1. Go to http://scratch.mit.edu and join the Scratch community (top right corner of the page).

  2. We will explore some of the existing projects on the site later, but for now let’s use a set of tutorials to learn how to create a simple game in Scratch. (Note: these tutorials were created for the previous version of Scratch so the screens will look different and there will be some tiny differences. See if you can work around these!) As you work through these tutorials, be sure to save each lesson as a separate file. Write notes about your progress and take screenshots as evidence. You will use these as part of your assessed work.

Educational Game Design

Unit Question:

How can we create a simple computer program that keeps the needs of the user in mind?

Area of Interaction:

Human Ingenuity

  • Awareness and Understanding of the individual desire to create, develop or change things
  • Reflection on the products of innovation, creation and development in context
  • Taking action to create solutions and products to solve own and others’ problems

Significant Concept:

Design is about the user and not the designer.

As we learned from the Hour of Code, very few schools are teaching computer programming at a time when there will be more and more demand for people with computer coding experience. This project is an opportunity for you to explore the concept of coding while also using the Design Cycle to help you create a program that fulfills a purpose.

In addition to exploring the Scratch programming language and community, we will also be taking the time to “interview” kindergarten students in the elementary school to get an idea of what their interests are as well as what content is appropriate.

Your task will be to design and create a simple game or activity using Scratch that can be used in the kindergarten classrooms to help them learn or reinforce what they have been learning. It can be a math game, a reading quiz or maybe even a Japanese lesson. Whatever you decide to make, you should strive to make it the right level of difficulty and the right level of interest for your audience.

Investigation #1: Getting to know Scratch