Last fall I was introduced to Scratch, a programming application made by the beautiful minds at MIT. I was very excited about what Scratch might mean for my students because of it simple, yet powerful interface. So last month I set my fourth grade students free on it. The challenge: to make a video game. My students were practically shell-shocked with the assignment: "We get to make a video game?"
Step 1: Since I did not know how to use Scratch, I sent my students to the website: LearnScratch.org which taught them most everything they needed to know about programming with Scratch with easy to follow screencast tutorials.
Step 2: Give them the impossible task of making their own video game.
Step 3: Stand back and be amazed.
These young students now have the programming bug, they are starting to "get" the world that is around them. They don't look at their iPod Touches apps the same way. In fact, I had one student show me a game that she had made in Scratch that was just like the app on my iPod Touch. Which is why I added Step 4...
Step 4: Share any future video game royalties with Mr. Flick.
If you want to see examples of student made video games using Scratch, just check out the gallery on their website.