EdTech 597: Using Variables on Scratch

This week I feel like I know how to spruce up projects with background, other sprites, music, and most importantly timing them all. Even the best of work falls flat against a plain background or one that is poorly hand drawn. If was a teaching at the moment I wouldn’t neglect these details because they seem to be the key to engagement. What I mean by the key to engagement is having a solid communicating my instruction in a visually appealing way that conveys context instantly. In design we learned how much mean comes from images and how making them universal makes them easier to understand. In acting I learned some profound concepts behind actors choice.  A producer once told me ” You wouldn’t cast an Italian from Brooklyn as a farmer.” In most people’s mind he would be better fit for a role on the Sopranos.

Besides finally honing my ability to convey context and visuals this week we focused on variables. It was easier than I thought, yet with one huge caveat: When you change a variable it completely alter your work. As I was messing around with the Pinwheel file I had a light blub moment as I figured that of course you change a variable like such as in math and it will give you a different answer. The program is based off of solid mathematical principles and being able to tap into that showed me that there is even more that can be done with Scratch than the silly stuff I have been messing with to learn how to use it.


I decided to play with ask and wait as one of my classmates made some suggestion about a previous dialogue I had with just one Sprite. This time I used 3 Sprites to evoke a feel of being with a peer group and the dynamics that come up in it such as whispering to a fellow student about what the teacher just said! The Cat Sprite walks a student through making an action sentence and the alien sprites help with the confusing term that they over hear. To do this I altered the first action so the Sprite would say something and not ask to set up the purpose of the activity. I still used the ask, answer, and wait functions to keep smooth dialogue. I had to set the When Keyboard is Pressed button so that every time an answer was given the next part appeared for the student to type in.  Lastly I had to figure out the spacing when adding the join and the variable buttons.


This project like many I have been doing was the brain child of my 5 year old son. We flipped through the chapter and picked to mess with Pinwheel and when he saw the ladybug he said mom use the spider.  This project didn’t allow too much wiggle room because if you don’t keep the triangle function set at 3 you wont get a triangle. Likewise, with keeping certain turns like the 360 because you end up with colored blob.  I tried playing with the colors, since I didn’t want rainbow colors on a Halloween themed project. To do that I set the pen color to where I wanted and then set the amount of color changes to a much smaller number.  I wanted the pinwheel to look as much like a web as possible so I set the pinwheel to 7. I also tried to incorporate the number 13 in as much as I could with out making a huge web, or a very tiny web depending how many repeats, or the length of the side I altered. One thing I could figure out is sometimes the thread the spider goes down on sometimes doesn’t appear and does at other times.

EdTech 597: Motion, drawing, looks, and sound with Scratch

This project was based off of Balloon Blast and created with out the use of file that goes with the it. Unable to use the files, I created a game my son could use to help is fine motor issues using some of the principles from Balloon Blast. Like the rocket; the monkey moves across the screen but I decided to let the sprite free move and bounce from the edges. When the monkey is clicked at the right time he will get a banana. I added sound and a bit of text to make it more interactive. It’s all simple and made so a 5 year old can use it. I also added a jungle like background so I could play with some of the other features in the background section.


I made some simple alterations to the programming including having the zebra go where the mouse is pointing  to give the feel of dancing.  Since I was playing with that I changed the background to the tunnel as I thought having a moving zebra on it would make it seem 3D.  Since I was going with playful I added a little dance music for the zebra to have fun with.

I have decided that I am not working of figuring out anything when using Scratch. This week I have decided that I am playing with the information to see the different outcomes and seeing where that leads me then building on that to create something cohesive. I think the term play might become integral to my teaching philosophy.

EdTech 597: Scratch Procedures


I changed the conversion for Fahrenheit to Kalvins which is an important step in chemistry calculations. I decided that the Sprite to talk more to give an explanation and guide viewer in how the procedure is done and not just provide an answer.


Here I altered the parallelogram to be square, and took the triangular roof sections away so I could play with coordinates of the rectangular roof. I found that playing with the triangular roof section I could change the repeat section to 8 and create an octagon, which is reminiscent of a stop sign. Since there are stop signs on a building I imagined it as a place that manufactures stop signs

This week was a challenge. I finally hit a brick wall skill wise on Scratch which I didn’t’ think would happen because it is very intuitive once you grasp the basics.  Making up your own parts to add isn’t as easy as it sounds. It was especially hard with the building and I was just happy enough to make something cohesive with the shape I wanted. I would love to see students try this and wonder what they would come up with?