Scratch 3.0: Not Just for Your Kids Anymore

This January, MIT had released their most recent iteration of Scratch 3.0. For those without young children, Scratch is a hugely successful platform for teaching children about computer science while encouraging creative play and exploration. Projects created can vary from animations to games and much more. The platform is web-based and comes packed full of assets for characters, background artwork, and music. You are also able to upload your own images and sounds with up to 50 MB allocated per project. Interaction with characters (called Sprites) occurs by dragging and dropping blocks of code in the proper sequence on the coding stage.

Scratch code stage
Sample code on the stage

With the new release, Scratch is now written in HTML5 (an upgrade from its previous Flash format) which means that Scratch projects are now mobile friendly! Other notable upgrades include the add-on blocks of text to speech and translation.

What Can You Create?

Having the ability to interact with projects on mobile devices, now opens this platform to young children and those with special needs that previously have been unable to play games or interact due to physical limitations when accessing a computer. Here are some ideas for what you may create:

  • Cause and Effect Interactive Experiences– you can customize the visual interactions with familiar images and objects. Experiences may also be supported by sounds and songs.
  • Follow Direction Games– Using the text to speech blocks, you may create interactive games asking students to follow one to multi-step directions. Oh yes, and you can keep score! Checkout this starter project as an example.
  • Visual Tracking Games– Using color detection blocks, simple to complex maze games are possible and endless. Other visual games include tracking a moving sprite to “catch” it.
  • Attention Games– Using the hide and show blocks, a teacher may create games where sprites appear and disappear in random patterns and locations.

The most powerful part is the ability to personalize games and experiences to make meaningful connections. And…. the learning curve is not too painful; even for adult noobs. Most projects can be “Remixed” which means that pre- built projects may be duplicated and then further edited or customized.

Scratch Can Also Be Switch Friendly

Makey Makey Layout

Scratch projects have the ability to listen for “Events” such as keyboard strokes. This functionality works beautifully with easy to use boards such as the Makey Makey. With limited experience and a few alligator clips, you can create a custom switch out of anything that conducts electricity.

Playground Express Board
Adafruit Circuit Playground Express

Feeling even more intrepid? Using an education board such as the Circuit Playground Express and some alligator clips you can customize which keystrokes to send or also trigger mouse navigation. This board can be programmed using another block based programming platform called Makecode.

Ways to Learn

Scratch Website Tutorials

The Scratch website comes with great self paced tutorials that walk you through their most basic blocks and how to complete some of the most frequently used types of projects. Visit their tutorial page here.

Books

There is no shortage of published and online books that walk you through basic to more complex projects. Here are a few popular ones:

And… YouTube. Of course!

In the Neighborhood? Come Learn Together!

zero day camp location

If you happen to be in the NYC area, we will be hosting a beginner Scratch for educators and parents open house. The open house will be held on Saturday 3/30/2018 from 2 – 4 pm at the Moonbase Zero shop located in Prospect Heights Brooklyn.

Visit this link to register or learn more

Mini Games with Bitsy

Bitsy logo

 

 

We’ve been having some one-off holiday camps this September and spend one of the days playing around with creating Bitsy games. Bitsy is an online game development platform created by Adam Le Doux. This platform is easy to learn and involves no coding experience. Campers are able to create stories and arrow navigation based games within a few hours. With pixel based rooms, avatars, items, and sprites, the product is lo-fi yet engaging.

Try it out… The editor can be found here: http://ledoux.io/bitsy/editor.html

We also created a two-pager quick guide which covers basic navigation and functionality: Bitsy How To

And… here are some games we started on…

Run Jump

The Quest

 

Camper Interactive Fiction Stories

The Zero Day Campers were hard at work this week writing their own interactive stories mostly in Twine, and some others testing out the Scratch 3 Beta.

We have some finished stories and some works in progress, but all of them show the campers’ ingenuity and hard work.


Space

By Adrien
You can’t wait to go to space. You see planet earth getting smaller and smaller. You can’t wait to get to space. Little do you know the danger ahead of you
Play Space!

GRANDPA AT 6

                                                 
 ____   __   __       __   _   __      __  ____     __ 
 |  __ |__| |__| |\ | | \ |_| |__|    |__|  |      /__
 |___| | \  |  | | \| |_/ |   |  |    |  |  |      |__|

by Auguste

Want to have a good laugh and feel superior towards others!
Haha, well now you can without even moving an inch from you’re computer! And it’s
as easy as 1, 2 and not 3!

  1. laugh at the names in the game, for example “booty- buttcheek-poop-minecraft-simulator. Ha Ha, that sounds like like someone in kindergarten wrote it. (By the way they are my main source of inspiration!).
  2. feel superior to the kindergartener’s humor, HA HA, very funny and superior feelings flow through you’re veins!
  3. play the game

Play Grandpa at 6

The Egg

by Charlotte
A story about a cat who finds an egg. What will be in the egg?
Download the Scratch 3 code for The Egg

The Robot and the Donut

by Daniel, Eli, and Walter
The strange and riveting tale of a brave robot and an unusual donut.
Download the Scratch 3 code of for the Robot and the Donut

The Mooing Cow

by Derek
A story about a wandering cow, a dangerous clock, and a surprising kitten.
Play The Mooing Cow

The Espionage Kobold 1

by Diego
You are a professional espionage kobold. Can you steal the secret code?
Play Espionage Kobold

The Fortune Teller

by Eli
Tricky number guessing and a riddle can lead to your doom or salvation.
Play Fortune Teller

Kitty Jailbreak

by Fiona
Are you hungry? Are you cute and fluffy? Can you escape your kitty cage? Click to find out.
Play Kitty Jailbreak

Clue Simulator

by Kam
Colonel Mustard, in the Lounge, with the Knife? No, it’s always Mrs. Peacock…
Play the Clue Simulator

The Interrogator

by Henry
Welcome to the cutthroat world of…ketchup.
Play The Interrogator

World Tour

by Lili
Things get tricky for an alien just looking to explore the Earth.
Play World Tour

Decision Day

by Sophie
What do you do about the mysterious villain with “portal powers”? The decisions are yours to make…
Play Decision Day

The Tale of the Dark Sword

by Zam
You are a fearless adventure, but will you save the town or fall to the powerful boss monster?
Play The Tale of the Dark Sword

The Zombie Apocalypse

By Zev
The Zombie Apocalypse is an awesome game. Every single person that tested it loved it! DON’T LISTEN!!!! FAKE Reviews!!!! Heh heh, now ok back to the real reviews NOT. Zombie Apocalypse has life threatening choices. PLAY IT NOW!!!!
Play Zombie Apocalypse

Creating an Automated House with the Microbit

cardboard doll house

This spring session we tried something a little different and hands on. Campers were on a mission to build their dream home and automate it using the Microbit. The focus was on providing a project based and camper led experience. Working in pairs, basic programming and physical computing concepts were introduced such as creating LED circuits, programming sounds for the doorbell, using a servo to make a fan and introduction to sensors as burglar alarms. The Microbit and blocky based programming IDE (pxt.microbit.org) served as a user-friendly platform for exploration. Continue reading “Creating an Automated House with the Microbit”

The Microbits Come to PS 93

a microbitZero Day Camp is happy to collaborate with PS 93 in Bed-Sty Brooklyn to present a 5 week after school CS introduction program using the Microbit. Physical computing is a great way to engage young learners and being to understand how computers and code can affect the world around them. The Microbit is a small computer which supports input connections using alligator clips and comes packed with multiple sensors. To learn more visit: microbit.org.

Continue reading “The Microbits Come to PS 93”

Zero Day Camp and The Campus in Brownsville

For almost a year now Zero Day Camp’s directors have been working with New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton’s office to contribute to the launch of “The Campus” technology and wellness hub centered in the public housing and community schools of Brownsville, Brooklyn. We are excited about The Campus, which has brought together key community organizations and local youth technology and media non-profits to work towards creating a high tech training and development center in one of the poorest and often neglected corners of New York City. Continue reading “Zero Day Camp and The Campus in Brownsville”