This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Week 6 Scratch: The missing manual ( February 20-26)

In the task about mathematics and Scratch, open exploration worked, but everybody would appreciate examples, explanations and materials for starting. I think it would be hugely useful to many people! I am likely to lead this course again in the near future. You may want to lead a similar task for teacher and parent workshops, or for students. Educators from all over the world in the ScratchEd community may want it. 


  1. Ask three particular questions you had when you were starting Scratch. For example, SandraG said she needed to know about show/hide. If you found good materials to help with the questions eventually, link them.
  2. Pose a little Scratch task for a newbie who wants to do something about mathematics on Scratch. For example, one of the first tasks MIT people suggest for Scratch Day events is to make the sprite walk around a perfect square.
  3. Make a brief (2-3 minutes) screencast explaining your way of doing it. Here is an example of a screencast explaining how to make a sprite follow your mouse: There are several good free screencast programs out there - my favorite is Jing and Screenr is good too.

Screencasting is a popular way for educators to communicate with one another and students, and an excellent learning task for kids. It makes a lot of difference for learning communities. It's at the top of my list of useful, simple teacher tools. 

Task Discussion

  • Carolyn   Feb. 29, 2012, 11:31 a.m.

    Part One:

    What is a Sprite? Can I add more than one?

    How do I extend the "forever" control?

    What is a costume?

    How do you remove a control once its been placed?

    Part Two: moving sprite in a straight line and turning him 180 degrees

    1. Select sprite or use the cat alread on the white screen.

    2. Under "motion" (purple) select "move 10 steps" and change 10 to 150

    3. Select "control" (yellow) and select "wait 1 sec" and place it under "move 150 steps"

    4. Select "turn 15 degrees" from the motion tab and change 15 to 180. Place it under "wait one sec"

    5. Go back to the motion tab and select "move 10 steps" again and change 10 to 100 and place it under "turn 180 degrees"

    6. Under "control" select "wait 1 second" again and place it under "move 100 steps"

    7. Under the control tap select the "forever" control and place it around all 5 steps

    8. The select the "when (flag) clicked" and place it on top of the "forever control"

    9. Click the green flag in the upper right hand corner. Done!

  • SandyG   March 8, 2012, 12:45 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Carolyn   Feb. 29, 2012, 11:31 a.m.

    “Math games make learning Math fun. When we're having fun, we're more open to learning. When we're having fun, we want to keep doing whatever we're doing” (Everybody loves games…especially kids, 2012).  I found this quote on a math game website, and it states quite simply why programs like Scratch work in education. 

    According to one article, “Current research suggests Net Gen students are more likely to engage in online games than to interact with other students or the instructor when in face-to-face learning environments” (Annetta, Murray, Laird, Bohr, & Park, 2006).  Though I had not yet heard of today’s children referred to as the N generation, it certainly makes sense.  The study by Annetta et al. (2006) notes, “studies have suggested students as young as second grade opted to play a geography video game rather than go to the park”.  Clearly the case can be made that today’s students can and do learn through the use of games or other visual technology such as Scratch.

    With your questions,  I noticed two of them dealt with number concepts; that is, adding one more (“Can I add more than one?”) and infinity (“How do I extend the "forever" control?”).  It is easy to see how a program such as Scratch can help explore these concepts in a visually stimulating learning environment. 

    By asking students to add or delete Sprites, math is happening without explicitly stating the problem.  Allowing the student to manipulate the sprites appeals to different learning styles.  The kinesthetic movement of the hand in creating the Sprites can really bring a concept alive, and a discussion about “forever” movement vs. a finite number of steps can take the concept of infinity from abstract to observable.  

     Applications such as Scratch that are free for educators are a great tool to differentiate instruction.  The fact that what the student produces will be as simple or as complicated as their skills allow, really makes for an experience that tailors itself to each student’s needs. Therefore, each student will learn but at a level that suits them.  Because a lesson using Scrtach can be done individually, as a team, or as a class, it really would be effective.

    Everybody loves games…especially kids. (2012). Retrieved March 2012, from Learn with Math Games:

    Annetta, L. A., Murray, M. R., Laird, S. G., Bohr, S. C., & Park, J. C. (2006). Serious games: Incorporating video games in the classroom. Educause Quarterly, 9(3), 1-6.

  • Carolyn Lesser   March 11, 2012, 9:42 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Carolyn   Feb. 29, 2012, 11:31 a.m.

    To answer your 3rd question, "What is a costume?" here is a link that I found that explains exactly what it is. I actually just discovered this myself. It is a wikipage just for scratch and is very helpful for any questions.

    Basiclly a sprite doesn't have a visual appearance without a costume. It acts sort of like an avatar to represent the sprite visually in the program. Here are some example costumes:

  • This comment was deleted.
  • Carolyn   March 15, 2012, 4:18 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Anonym   Feb. 26, 2012, 3:39 p.m.

    To answer your first question "How do you change the size of a sprite?" I found a website to explain it.

    Here is explains that you can go to the "Look" block and click the "change size by ()" block and change the size by a number. The default is 100. 

    As for making your sprite move, there are various ways to do this. Under the "moton" block you can have the sprite move to different coordinates. This website also shows you how to move the sprite to follow the mouse.

  • Keisha   Feb. 26, 2012, 3:50 a.m.

    Part 1:

    1) How do you get your sprite to move?

    2) What do some of the puzzle pieces mean?

    3) What's the correct way to use the puzzle pieces?

    Part 2:

    How to move your Sprite in a triangle.

    1) To begin moving your Sprite in a triangle the first step is to go to the control tab and click on the first puzzle piece that says "When 'green flag' clicked" and drag it to center.

    2) Second step is to drag the puzzle piece that says " repeat" underneath the first puzzle piece you moved in step one.

    3) Next you will go to the "Motion" tab and grag the 8th puzzle piece that says "Glide 1 secs to x: __ y:__" and drag it inside the "repeat" puzzle piece.  Drag 3 of them into the "repeat" puzzle piece.

    4) Then you will move your mouse inside the white space where your Sprite is and put your mouse near the corner. You're going to record the x andy axis that is in the right hand corner into the first blue puzzle piece. Do this one more time and then go to the center/top to make that triangle shape and record that x and y axis.

    5) Finally all you need to do is click the green flag in the upper right corner and your Sprite should be moving in a triangle.

  • Laura Haeberle   March 16, 2012, 12:47 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Keisha   Feb. 26, 2012, 3:50 a.m.

    Hey Keisha! Here's what I know in terms of Scratch.

    To answer your first question, you first click on the sprite you want to move, so that the script is open. Then you go to the top left and click on motion, and drag the first "puzzle piece" that says "move 10 steps" into the script section. If you click on that blue puzzle piece now, the sprite will move.

    Overall, the puzzle pieces are just the building blocks of Scratch. Connecting them together puts in a combination of moves for the sprite. Personally, my main way of finding out what each of the pieces meant was to try it out and find out. A lot of it was trial and error until I got it right! This page is pretty helpful in figuring out some of the basic moves and commands:

    I don't think there's one "right" way to use the puzzle pieces, it's all about figuring out whatever you want to do! Just have fun with it!

  • Laura Haeberle   Feb. 26, 2012, 12:41 a.m.


    How do you clear a script?

    Can you make the sprites interact with each other?

    Can you upload a sprite template or image to the database?


    Make the sprite walk back and forth across the grid

    1.         Select desired sprite and double click so the “Script” tab is open in the middle box

    2.         Drag sprite to either side of the grid

    3.         Go to “Control” in the top box, and drag “When [flag] clicked” into the box in the middle

    4.         Go to “Motion” in the top box and drag over “Move 10 steps”

    5.         Go to “Control” and drag “Repeat 10,” placing it over “Move 10 steps”

    6.         Change “Repeat 10” to “Repeat 36”

    7.         In the top of the middle box, click the small, middle box with an arrow lying horizontally, so that the sprite will only face left-right

    8.         Go to “Motion” and drag “Turn 15 degrees”

    9.         Change “15 degrees” to “180 degrees”

    10.       Go to “Control” and drag “Wait 1 sec”

    11.       Go to “Control” and drag “Forever,” placing it over everything except “When [flag] clicked”

    12.       Click on [flag] to see the sprite move!


  • Carolyn Lesser   Feb. 24, 2012, 5:40 p.m.


    Part One:

     How do I make a new script?

    How do I make a sprite make sound like a drum beat at the same time the sprite is doing an action?

    How do I make the hide/show work for one sprite correspond with other sprites?

    Part two:

    Walking in a square

    1. Delete Cat
    2. Pick a new sprite
    3. Shrink sprite and move to corner
    4. Choose the move 10 steps button and type in 250 steps
    5. Choose the turn right 15 degrees button and type in 90 degrees
    6. Go to the control tab and click on the wait one second and type in 2 seconds
    7. Click on the forever button and wrap it around the rest of the tabs
    8. Click on the When green flag clicked button
    9. Click on green flag and watch sprite walk in a square

    Part 3:

  • SandyG   Feb. 21, 2012, 5:08 p.m.

    Part I-

    1) How do you add different backgrounds to make it look like different scenes?

    2) How do you hide/show different Sprites on those different backgrounds?

    3) How do you a start a new script?


    Part II-

    1) Delete Scratch the cat

    2) Change the backgound to yellow

    3) Create 5 new sprites: 1) red circle 2) purple oval 3) green square  4) pink rectangle  5) blue triangle

    From this basic assignment, I could move on to asking the students to move the shapes around and placing them at specific points on the background using the X and Y grid background.


    Part III:

    <iframe src="" width="650" height="396" frameborder="0"></iframe>


  • Kathy Cianciola   Feb. 21, 2012, 10:07 a.m.

    1. How can I delete an unwanted sprite? I can do this by right clicking on the sprite icon at the bottom right of the screen, and clickin "delete."

    2. How can I change a sprite while to show change or motion? By using "costumes" and making a copy of the sprite, editing the appearance, then using the "looks" option and selecting "Switch costume"

    3. How can I control the placement of sound effects throughout the animation?  By selecting another green start flag and adding the new sound

  • SandyG   Feb. 21, 2012, 9:11 a.m.

    I'm in a little panic now as this seems like a huge task.  If we didn't find any good tutorials or sources, am I correct to assume we simply don't attach anything?

  • Maria Droujkova   Feb. 21, 2012, 9:22 a.m.
    In Reply To:   SandyG   Feb. 21, 2012, 9:11 a.m.

    This is correct. You simply write questions - whether you know answers to them or not! If you have happened to find a good answer ALREADY (as you searched last week), please share, if not, just write the question.

    The screencast part, again, should be about something quick and simple; maybe "make your sprite walk backwards" or "draw a shape." 

    Does it make sense, Sandy?

  • SandyG   Feb. 21, 2012, 9:34 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Maria Droujkova   Feb. 21, 2012, 9:22 a.m.

    It does.  Drawing shapes is exactly what I had in mind to do!