Scratch, what is Scratch? I’m glad you asked (kind of). Scratch is an amazing program on my Raspberry Pi. It came with the Raspbian Wheezy Linux that I installed. It’s so simple and fun that I want to experiment with it every day. Most nights, I spend the last half hour before bed learning more about Scratch.
You can download Scratch for a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer and you can also put it on your Raspberry Pi if it’s not already there. Also, they are beta testing version 2.0 and you can use it online even from a Chromebook or netbook. Unfortunately, you can’t save your files online, but you can download them to your computer to work on later.
Scratch is a programming language but you don’t need to memorize code. Instead of creating a while loop, you just drag a “forever-if” block onto the stage. You just type a couple of numbers instead of a lot of code. There are blocks to show/hide the character, move him, detect collisions, do math, draw shapes, keep score, and more. With all of these blocks, you can create games, videos, animations, RPGs, classic video games, and anything else your brain can imagine.
Then, you can upload your Scratch projects to share with the rest of the world. Or you can see what other brilliant people have done with Scratch. Just go to http://scratch.mit.edu There are more than 3 million projects there already!
I have an ebook called Super Scratch Programming Adventure. It teaches you how to do great projects. Sometimes I struggle, though, because it doesn’t give you all of the details and you have to figure some things out by yourself. A couple of times, I’ve wasted a lot of time doing it wrong and I don’t figure it out until later. Like one time, I spent hours drawing these new costumes and it turned out that they were supposed to be sprites. Luckily, my dad got on the Google+ Scratch page and asked for help and the nice people helped us figure out how to convert costumes to sprites. Then my Linux got corrupt and I had to reinstall and I lost everything anyhow.
So far, I’ve uploaded one project to the Scratch website. I was using a Scratch tutorial that was teaching how to move the usual cat character, Scratchy, around the screen. I decided to change it to a fish and change the background to an aquarium. The tutorial helped me move him in the shape of a star and drop a pen to make him draw a star. My dad wasn’t happy that when the fish moved to the left, he was facing to the right and it didn’t look realistic. So, I figured out how to tell when he’s moving left and made him face left and when he’s moving right and made him face right.
But that wasn’t cute enough for an 11 year old girl, so I had to add my own touch to it. I added some animation to make my fish (named “Winky”) wink after he drew the star. All I did was color in his eye with the same color as his body (my dad had to teach me what the eye dropper does) and then draw a black line. Even though it’s just an eye and then a line and then an eye, it really looks like he’s winking! OK, enough talk, let me show you my new pet . . . Winky! Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. I also made the star rainbow colored! Awesome!!! http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/krystal92586/3178144
Here’s a simple tutorial on the basics of Scratch: