Scratch Lesson Plan from the Silicon Valley CoderDojo

The Silicon Valley CoderDojo hosted our very first meeting last week. Since we didn’t know the age and experience of the kids that were going to show up, we devised a plan that would be flexible. We wanted students with no prior programming experience to be able to make their first game. We also wanted more experienced students to be able to work on projects that would be fun and challenging.

Scratch was chosen for its ability to get complete beginners working on real projects almost immediately. It is also able to hold the interest of experienced programmers, as proven by our mentors that spent time creating Scratch projects before the meeting to get familiar with the drag-and-drop environment!

We decided to present three different project options for the students, as well as encouraging experienced students to come up with their own ideas for games. At the start of the meeting we showed the following three games (this had the added benefit of getting students excited about the many types of games that are possible in Scratch).

Avoid the Obstacles

Click here to play and download the scripts

In this game the player must use the arrow keys to navigate a character through a scene of moving obstacles to get to the finish line. If you touch an obstacle you go back to the beginning. There are many possible additions to the game like multiple levels, limited lives, and different types of obstacles that can keep any student having fun after finishing the basics!

Snake

Click here to play and download the scripts

You control a fast moving snake (big green dot) around the screen trying to get a randomly generated target (small blue dot). As you get more points your snake moves faster and faster!

Space Invaders

Click here to play and download the scripts

This is a classic game where you control a spaceship on the bottom of the screen that shoots up at enemy crafts. There are many exciting elements that creative students can come up with!

The meeting was a tremendous success. We look forward to many of the same students coming back next time!

Brian Skinner is one of the primary mentors for the Silicon Valley CoderDojo and led the students through the Scratch lesson plan presented here. He is the founder of Breakout Mentors which pairs experienced Bay Area programmers with young local students who are excited to learn how to program, but need a nudge in the right direction.