Scratch Feature Jan 2017

New ‘Scratch Challenge Workbook’ From DK

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Planning for my 2017 summer camps is underway, and once again this summer I’ll be offering a Beginning Game Programming class. This time, however, I’ve added another programming camp called More Game Programming; not only have I received requests from students who took the camp last summer, but I’ve also heard from parents asking for MORE MORE MORE programming training.

Last summer, my campers absolutely enjoyed working from some of DK’s new workbooks related to programming. I wrote about those workbooks and some additional resources here, and I cannot praise these books enough for how engaging they are for younger students. The thin workbooks have a price of $5.99 and provide 40 pages of colorful projects and training. The instructions are friendly and make it easy for kids to learn at their own pace or with a partner.

Scratch cover

My only complaint about the workbooks? There aren’t enough of them! But DK isn’t sitting still, and they’ve got the new Scratch Challenge Workbook releasing on February 14, 2017, and I got an advanced copy to review. Here’s what you’ll find inside:

  • A quick 4-page introduction to Scratch that includes explanation of concepts such as Sprites, Scripts, Costumes, Stage, and Libraries.
  • Sound Party! – Learn to use your computer’s microphone to control graphics and colors on the screen.
  • Keepy-Uppy – Learn to use your computer’s webcam and use your head and body to keep a soccer ball bouncing and from hitting the ground.
  • Monkey Rescue – Program this side-scroller and control a hero on screen and avoid obstacles such as buildings and clouds.
  • Memory Master – Program a Simon-like game that uses sound (instead of lights) to test your memory.
  • Quizzes at end the of projects and solutions at the back of the book.

scratch interior

As with the other Scratch workbooks, the instructions are filled with detailed explanations for creating the programs and using the various interfaces/tools that Scratch offers. As you can see in the image here, steps are numbered and additional notes are added to point out special features or focus attention on key concepts. Sidebars provide great explanations on concepts such as Coordinates, Operators, and more.

All in all, I’m quite pleased with this workbook and it will be added to the list of resources for my campers. If you’ve got a budding young coder, these workbooks are sure to provide the right balance of challenge and fun, and Scratch is a great way to introduce programming without overwhelming a child.

Here are links to my other reviews of Scratch resources:

Create Start-to-Finish Games with Scratch Programming Playground

Coding in Scratch: Games Workbook

Beginning Game Programming Camp – Gamification and DK Workbooks

Super Scratch Programming Adventure

Note: I was provided with a review copy of Scratch Challenge Workbook. It releases on February 14, 2017.

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