We’re all spending a lot more time at home these days. I miss teaching coding classes, but with our time at home, I’ve been trying to stay connected and to help kids keep coding.
In my Scratch classes, while we waited for everyone to arrive, I would put a “warm-up challenge” on the board. It was usually a “can you recreate this?” type challenge, which would give students a chance to explore the code blocks, do some critical thinking, and troubleshoot before we went over it together as a group. Turns out these types of challenges lend themselves pretty well to online learning, so I’ve been posting them on my social media as daily challenges. Every weekday since we started staying home, I’ve posted a daily Scratch Challenge at 8am. I’ve followed it up with an answer at 2pm. It’s challenged my creativity and given me a fun thing to focus on. And it’s been nice hearing from people who have enjoyed them!
I figured I would take a little time to collect them into blog posts so that they’re easier to share and reference later on. If you haven’t been following along on social media and are seeing them now for the first time, I hope you enjoy them! We’ll start with the first 6 challenges I did in mid-March, during the first week we were home.
Scratch Challenge #1
Here’s Scratch Challenge 1, which is for beginners. It’s inspired by my own dog, Murphy, who is so happy to have his people home with him. If you’ve never used Scratch before, I’ll start you off with a hint: the “action” of your project needs to come from an Event, so start with one of those blocks.
And now for the answer to Scratch Challenge 1!
1. Add the Backdrop named Room 1.
2. Delete the cat sprite and add Dog2.
3. Here is the code to add to the dog sprite: when you click the green flag, the dog will forever say “I’m happy you’re here!”, glide 1 second to a random position on the backdrop, and change his color effect by 25.
Did you figure it out? Was this your first Scratch project? (If so, congratulations and welcome to the world of Scratch coding!)
To see my version, go here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/376759804/
Scratch Challenge #2
Scratch Challenge 2 is for users with a little bit of Scratch experience. It’s is inspired by the fact that while there are some things we can’t do right now, like go to school, we can still enjoy taking walks!
And the answer to Scratch Challenge 2:
For this project, it’s important to remember how a sprite always has a position on the XY grid. X=0, Y=0 is the middle of the backdrop. I’ve included a picture of the grid, but you can look it up at anytime because the grid is one of the backdrops you can choose!
Costume switching and backdrop switching make it look like our sprite is going on a very long walk.
See my version here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/376765859/
Scratch Challenge #3
This one is for everyone! Hopefully coding this cute growing & shrinking pufferfish will be a fun part of your day!
And here’s the answer for Scratch Challenge 3. I started out with an Event block for when the green flag is clicked. (Our action always starts with an event.) Before the real action starts, I set the size of the sprite to its actual size (100%). This way, if I run my project multiple times, it won’t start out too big or too small.
My action is going to go forever, so I added that block next. I wanted to grow my pufferfish 10 times, each time by 10. To control the speed, I added a wait block for .5 seconds. Then I shrank the pufferfish 10 times, changing the size by MINUS 10.
See my version here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/376985609/
Scratch Challenge #4
Attack of the clones! (That’s a hint.) Cute, multi-color clones.
Answer to Scratch Challenge 4: Did you find the clone block? Once you do, the rest of the code is pretty simple. But it’s a very fun effect, and my students love it! It never seems to get old, watching the clones fill the screen. I have some other clone activities in mind for future challenges.
Scratch Challenge #5
For Scratch Challenge 5, we’ll use the Pen blocks to draw on the screen. When you start a new project, you won’t see the Pen blocks right away– you’ll need to add them. Below all of the other block categories, there is a blue square called “Add Extension.” Click that and then choose Pen.
Add the Pen blocks to your Star sprite to draw with it. If you’ve never used the Pen blocks before, practice first by drawing a line, then a square. Pen up/down will give you more control over where on the screen you’re drawing.
And here’s how the star drew the rainbow lines in Scratch Challenge 5. You can experiment with some differences by changing the number of repeats (don’t forget to also change the amount of degrees you turn), or by editing the pen properties like color or size.
My version of the project here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/377695947/
Scratch Challenge #6
For Scratch Challenge 6, you’ll want to take a look in the Sensing blocks to figure out how the sprites can ask questions and where the answer is stored. If you’ve used these blocks before and the challenge feels too easy, try adding a few more questions and use the if/then blocks to control how your sprite reacts!
Did you figure out Scratch Challenge 6? Did you find the join operator so that you could use the answer in the text that the sprite says?
My version is here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/378015984/
Hope you enjoyed these challenges!
It was a fun first week! We hit on a lot of the different capabilities in Scratch and got comfortable with the basics. More challenges to come!
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