Today was the second Scratch session with a 3rd grade math class and it was a blast. Last week I introduced Scratch to them and they also tried out the Etch-a-sketch project from Simon Haughton’s Scratch Progamming lessons. Some of them spent some time during the week playing with Scratch during free time in math class.
This week I wanted to introduce the “ask and answer” blocks and “if-then-else” so I came up with this Trick or Treat lesson, just in time for Halloween.
First I verbally asked them “Trick or Treat?” Most of them said, “treat” of course. Then we brainstormed what a “treat” would look like in Scratch – do something (animation), change the costume, say something, play a sound. They of course had big ideas like candy falling from the sky or the Sprite eating a pile of candy. I tried to translate that into more programable language. Then we brainstormed what a “trick” would look like.
I showed them my sample project where a ghost asks “Trick or Treat” and if you say “treat” he turns into a bowl of cheesepuffs otherwise he turns into a scary ghost. I also had different sounds and a bit of animation (the Sprite turns and grows).
Next it was their turn. I directed them to picked a background for the stage and a Sprite. Their choice. We had a lot of ghost and ghouls, but quite a variety of backgrounds.
We tested it and they noted it didn’t do anything. Well, not yet. So we added a “say” block for each condition depending on if what they were looking for, trick or treat, and the opposite in the else clause.
Then I had them add two sounds, one for each condition. In hindsight, I should have saved the sounds for last as noise level went up both from excitement and the random sounds playing in the room.
Finally we added some costumes to the Sprite, one for each condition. (There was a bit of confusion here because we weren’t adding more Sprites but costumes to our Sprite.)
That was it, with just enough time to share their work. Their math teacher suggested this and it turned out to be a great idea. The projects were saved in a shared directory and all the laptops were closed and I displayed each project up on the screen for all to enjoy. When it was their turn, I asked the project creator if they wanted me to answer “trick” or “treat” first, then played both cases for all their classmates to see.
I’m very pleased with how this project went with this group of 3rd graders. I would definitely do it again- just have them add sound last.