Yum: Vector-Based Popcorn

Working with vector graphics is a little like working with clay.  You start with flexible lumps of "stuff" (rectangles and ellipses), then push, pull, bend, and layer until you have something.  I made the graphic below and an accompanying Scratch project to illustrate that basic idea. I plan to pass it out to my classes on Tuesday. 


The four panels of the popcorn bag, and the two bits of red stripe each began their lives as rectangles.  Gradients were added to the fill, and points were added to the paths.  Points were pushed and pulled here and there.  The kernels were made with ellipses.  They all come together to give the illusion of a bag of popcorn.  I hope you find this useful!  I made it my design goal to use no words - I wonder what adding some would do?

Lo-Fi Cut-Out Scratch Blocks


In class, I sometimes use some faux Scratch blocks I have cut out from foam board.  The foam has worn over the months, so I thought I'd make a fresh batch - maybe smaller sets printed on card-stock?  I am thinking it would be good to do some more gross-motor code-it-on-the-floor stuff.  One thing that is fun is to have one kid be the sprite and another pair assemble scripts - and the sprite kid acts it out.    The class gets to "evaluate" and see if the Sprite was following the directions.  Another thought would be to glue this on thicker-still-foamy stuff, and cut those out.  Or blow it up and use it as a template to cut out the big ones.  Who knows? If you like, you can download a PDF of these lo-fi blocks by clicking here:  Download PDF

Starfish in a Hot Air Balloon

Here is a concept kit I made in Scratch to teach the use of conditionals with a loop and operator.  Here is a link to the puzzle, and here is a link to the solution


Starfish, naturally, would like to fly his hot air balloon.  As the programmer, your job is to create scripts that

   1. Make gravity slowly pull the balloon down until it hits the ground.  Since Starfish is in a balloon, we can forget acceleration. 

   2. Make the balloon go up if Starfish turns on the gas (spacebar), and then fall again if he lets go.  

   3. Show the Starfish's response to the action.  

This project went through a number of iterations.  I had some versions with all kinds of variables to calculate acceleration and create states for the Starfish, but I kept seeing if I could make things simpler.




Concept Kits in Scratch

I have been experimenting with various formats for introducing concepts and skills in Scratch for my 3-6th grade classes.  In particular,  I have been working on ways to engage those kids who have a harder time "getting it" early on.    

I have created a few projects that I'm calling "kits."  They have simple goals, and some scaffolds built in (e.g. pre-dragged-out blocks).   They are somewhere between a Scratch card and a blank slate.   Today I took the same basic concept from 1.4 "forever-if" and used it to make a 2.0 version: "Conditional Kit #1

Slides for Teaching "Forever If" in Scratch

Here is a slide show I made to explain the big idea behind "forever if" in Scratch 1.4.  My goal was to make a project that would illustrate these ideas with as little code as possible, as I had a number of students frustrated by this.   All the necessary bits can be seen on the last slide, which I kept up for the working period.  If you are on 2.0, the forever and if blocks are separate.  The keynote file has animations...(download)