Teaching Scratch on the Codio Platform

12:00 AM on October 29, 2020 | Product News computer science programming

With over 60 million projects shared worldwide, Scratch is a wildly popular block-based programming language.

Why Scratch?

Scratch introduces programming concepts in an engaging way to a wide range of students from 3rd grade to college intro to CS classes.

The graphical coding environment makes it easy to create animated stories, interactive programs and games. Students learn the fundamental building blocks of computer programming, such as loops and conditional statements, without the pain of debugging syntax errors.

A Codio guide with a Scratch window and a running Scratch program

Scratch in Codio

You can now offer your class the desktop version of Scratch in Codio. There’s no need to create Scratch accounts for your students and your students won’t need to install special software or have a specific type of computer. Codio works on Chromebooks as well!

The desktop version of Scratch has all the features of the online version but because it is the standalone version, they won’t be able to view or comment on Scratch community projects. This means your students won’t be distracted by projects on the Scratch website and you won’t need to monitor project commenting.

With guides you can provide instructions for an assignment side-by-side with the Scratch development environment. No more being asked, “What was I supposed to do?” Students can view your instructions and complete their tasks on the same screen.

Creating and saving Scratch projects

To create an empty Scratch project in Codio, select File > New from the Codio menu and create a file with an .sb3 suffix. You can set up your Guide to automatically open the Scratch file you want your students to use.

If you want to use a project you have already created on the web version of Scratch, open the project in Scratch and select File > Save to your computer, then in Codio select File > Upload and open the Scratch file you downloaded.

The process is similar for moving Scratch files from Codio to Scratch, ctrl-click on the .sb3 file in Codio and select Download. Then in a new project in Scratch, select File > Load from your computer.

A sample lesson in Codio with instructions in the guide

Assessing your students’ work

Reflection is a very important part of the learning process. When students articulate their thought process it provides a deeper learning experience. Using Codio guides, you can require students to explain their work in a designated space.

An example of providing space for student reflection in a Codio guide

You can make sure your students really understand how things work with simple to create formative assessments, such as auto-graded multiple choice questions.

An auto-graded multiple choice question

Do you have a lot of students? Too many to go through each project and make sure they have followed your instructions? You can use auto-graded assessments to ensure that your students are using the blocks you expect them to use.

An example of auto-grading which checks to see that the student has added the 'go to' block

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab and is provided free of charge. You can find more information on how educators use Scratch here. Harvard Graduate School of Education has created a complete curriculum guide for Scratch.

Sharon Jason

Sharon is the Customer Success Manager at Codio. She has worked as a software developer and taught Scratch in K-8 schools.