Scaffolding Activities



Like training wheels computer scaffolding enables learners to do more advanced activities and to engage in more advanced thinking and problem solving than they could without such help.
(NRC, 2000, p.214)

One of the best ways to introduce Scratch is to give students a set of fun challenges that scaffold their learning of basic concepts and skills.

According to (Alber,2011) "Scaffolding is breaking up the learning into chunks and then providing a tool, or structure, with each chunk" (par. 2).

How to scaffold learning with Scratch:

  • Start with an interesting level appropriate Scratch game,animation or project and break it up into chunks(challenges or explorations).
  • Provide support (teacher does student watches/helps) and a challenge (student does teacher watches/helps) for each chunk.
  • Create objectives for each chunk.
  • Challenges can be completed individually, in pairs or groups.

For example:

Students will create the dodge ball game below with Scratch.


game

Notes:

  • Each challenge should be designed to introduce a new skill or concept.
  • Challenges should be sequenced from easy to more difficult in a way where they build on each other to complete a project (game, animation, story, etc.).
  • Challenges don't always necessarily need to be done in order.
  • Solutions to challenges may differ.

We can break the dodge ball game up into 8 learning chunks: screen position, direction, movement, random movement, following the mouse cursor, sensing, broadcasting, and broadcasting in action.

1. Screen Position

Provide support by introducing the following: position on the screen, position variables, XY coordinate system, and directed numbers. Here is a how to: video.

Challenge

Get the cat to say its screen address(position) using the following blocks:
say
forever
xy

Support videos: Challenge, Solution

2. Direction

Provide support by introducing the following: sprite direction, measurement of angles, outcomes of the random data process in Scratch. Here is a how to: video.

Challenge

Get the cat to say its current direction and position. The direction should be random. Add the following blocks to the screen position solution:
random
turn
direction

Support videos: Challenge, Solution

3. Movement

Provide support by introducing the three motion blocks: go to, glide, and move. Here is a how to: video.

Challenge

Get a ball to start at the middle top of the screen and fall to the bottom, and then bounce back up again. Use these blocks:

forever
goto
move
if-edge
point-direction

Support videos: Challenge, Solution

4. Random Movement

No support required.

Challenge

Get the ball to move unpredictably around the screen. Add these blocks:

random
turn

Support videos: Challenge, Solution

5. Following the mouse cursor

No support required.

Challenge

Have the cat sprite follow the mouse cursor around the screen. Direct students to choose one block from the motion menu and add this block:

forever

Support videos: Challenge, Solution

6. Sensing

Provide support by teaching the touching color block. Here is a how to: video.

Challenge

Get the game to stop and have the cat say "game over" when the ball touches the cat. Use these blocks:

stop_all
forever_if
touching
say

Support videos: Challenge, Solution

7. Broadcasting

Provide support by teaching the broadcast block, broadcast and wait block, the differences between the two broadcasts. Here is a how to: video.

Challenge

Broadcast a game over message when the cat gets hit by the ball. The cat should receive the message that it sends, and then change to a new costume. Add these blocks to the cat script:

broadcast-wait
when-receive
switch-costume

Support videos: Challenge, Solution

8. Broadcasting in Action

No support required.

Challenge

Broadcast a game over message when the cat gets hit by the ball. The stage should receive the message, and then change to a game over background. Add the following blocks to the stage script:

when-receive
switch-background

Support videos: Challenge, Solution

References

National Research Council (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Alber R.(2011). Six scaffolding strategies to use with your students. Retrieved October 23rd, 2012 from:
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/scaffolding-lessons-six-strategies-rebecca-alber external.