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Programming course

Basic facts about our Scratch programming course

  • School grades: Grade 1 ~ Grade 4
  • Duration of each lesson: 45 minutes
  • Lesson format: online using Zoom, or offline at our centre in Brentwood, Calgary
  • Class size: approx. 8~10 students
  • Tutoring Materials used: Braineer’s proprietary Scratch course
  • Pace: 18 lessons in total for level 1
  • Registration: in 6-lesson bundles

Our course structure

There are four units to Level I – Scratch Programming that will take you from the very basic to a seasoned game designer. These units are in order and each one builds on the last one. This level is designed to allow you to go at your own pace, so it is ok to take all the time you need to make sure you understand the programming concepts – and there are extra activities if you are going faster then the rest of the class to keep you challenged and engaged.

 

Here are the units and what you will learn (there are 18 lessons in total in the following 4 units):

  • Unit 1 – Introduction
    o Navigate the Scratch user interface, create characters in your animations, write a program using scripts, and share your projects with each other and the Scratch community worldwide
  • Unit 2 – Arts
    o Build blocks to animation, use loops to automate the program, and write good instructions to your users running your program
  • Unit 3 – Stories
    o Use advanced scripts to create your designs, narrate with scenes to tell your stories, and add details to your story that revolve around a central idea
  • Unit 4 – Games
    o Create a game with the player in mind, use events to make your game fun, and use Scratch extensions to make your game challenging

Our design journal

At Braineer, we require every child to keep a design journal throughout the Scratch course. The design journal is the most important tool in this level (besides your imagination.) Every session has opportunities to use your design journal to put your ideas down on paper – to take a look and see where you can make them better. At the beginning of each session, there are questions and sketches to write and draw in your journal. At the end of each session, there are follow up questions for you to reflect on what you learned. The journal is yours, and there is no set format, but there are some rules that will help us give you the most points:

  • Label how you want, but label consistently (date of entry, unit number, session number, etc.)
  • There is no such thing as too many notes or sketches – fill up your design journal
  • You do not have to be an artist to sketch – the purpose is to begin to develop your ideas, to take your design into creation
  • Use your journal to remember what you already learned – use the tool

Why children should learn Scratch programming

What is Scratch? Scratch is an online program that kids as young as 5 years can use to express their online creations artistically while collaborating and sharing with other online Users. Scratch has an intuitive drag-and-drop interface where the Users will choose blocks of instructions to perform tasks.

Scratch is the work of MIT media lab and has a large number of Users creating and sharing their Projects online. Scratch is highly touted as the next generation tool to help kids prepare for the 21st century.

Why is it important for kids to learn Scratch? It is extremely important for our kids to learn ‘Computational Thinking’ – Like Problem Solving, Modularization and Iterative Design – as more and more of this type of thinking is being applied in areas other than Programming. It is also important for kids to have ‘Digital Fluency’ in the future which means to design, create and mix digital content and not just browse, chat and interact with it.

Various types of Projects can be created using Scratch like Stories, Animations, Games and even interaction with the Physical World (see my earlier post about this topic here and the video here). Scratch is also more customizable which allows kids to express creatively of their own designs while incorporating designs from others.

How kids can benefit by learning Scratch?

By creating projects in Scratch, kids will learn to think about designing stuff before building, will learn to solve problems creatively, express the ideas that are close to them and work collaboratively with others. Kids will also learn to share their work, present their work to others and get feedback and also comment on others projects. These are some of the most important skill sets needed for the 21st Century.