Adventures in Science

Do you want to create your own video game, music video, cartoon, robot slave, maniacal war machine, and much more? Of course you do! Then you need to learn the basics of programming. By learning to program, you will have complete control over the design and performance of your creation or invention.

One of the easiest introductions to beginning programming is with Scratch. Scratch is a free program developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It was developed to give kids the tools they need to be creative with computers.

You can download it here: http://scratch.mit.edu/

Here is one of several tutorial videos, sometimes presented by kids, showing how the program works:

Go ahead and watch some of the others. See how Scratch can help you do amazing things!

The Scratch web site has many help pages and different forms of tutorials and tools to get you started. Adults will especially appreciate the handy Scratch Help Screens within the program. I found it easy to refer to while trying to figure out how to make our magic unicorn do our bidding.

We played around with it and the three of us–an adult, 5-y.o., and a 12-y.o.–designed and had a simple, silly playable game with just a few hours of trial and error.

Hungry Unicorn by One Giant Leap of Awesome
Scratch Project
You say: “lame.”
We say: “AWESOME!”
“lame.”
“AWESOME!!”
“lame.”
“AWESOME!!!”
Alright..it might need some tweaking here and there…

The Scratch interface has a wonderful, easy to use design. The built-in image and sound editors make it easy to do everything from within the Scratch program. The colorful graphic command blocks ease novices into the concepts of programming blocks and the systematic reasoning needed for programming. Finally, once you have become used to programming with Scratch, you can graduate to learning the nitty gritty of programming without the graphic command blocks. Go for it!

Here’s a cute cartoon by Scratch user Robojam200
Scratch Project

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