Exploring Scratch Scavenger Hunt

After introducing what computer science is, I tell the class that we’ll be focusing on computer programming.  If time permits, I usually like to do a standard direction giving activity to reinforce the idea that computers will follow directions exactly.  Usually a student or two knows someone who is a computer programmer and we get to talk about how code makes everything run before explaining that we’ll be using Scratch as our programming language of choice.

The fifth grade curriculum I inherited included a pretty prescribed worksheet detailing how to make sprites do specific actions.  I quickly became annoyed that I had to repeatedly tell the students to do what was asked first and explore later.  Clearly, I was doing it wrong.  Now, after a 30 second introduction about how to access Scratch, start a new project, and pointing out where the code blocks are, I send them off on a Scratch scavenger hunt!  When doing the partner version, their partner must verify that they correctly did each task.  On the higher value tasks, they’re asked to show their partner how to do something new without touching their partner’s keyboard or mouse and the teacher verifies.  This discovery activity capitalizes on their natural inclination to explore and their excitement is contagious!  I’m also including this year’s individual version for a socially distant or remote activity.

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