Materials by Teachers in English - Primary
Healthy Eating (Rachel Miles Ashton)
- Healthy Eating (1.7MB)
What is Scratch?
‘Literacy from Scratch’ aims to respond to government initiatives to develop computer programming skills in primary and secondary schools. In using this program, students and teachers will be able to create interactive stories and activities to aid cross-curricular engagement. The advantages of Scratch are threefold; satisfying the need to develop computational thinking, engaging students in linking subjects of the curriculum, and most importantly allowing the students to have fun doing this!
My particular focus is on unit 2A of the Science curriculum – healthy eating. This project is an interactive story suitable for KS1 students, and it specifically aims to involve younger children in their own learning about living a healthy lifestyle. It is hoped that students will relate well with the concept of animation and interactivity, and that this will directly enhance cross-curricular engagement and independent learning.
How would the project be used in schools?
There are several options for the use of my Scratch project in schools.
It is believed that an individual only truly knows a topic when they are able to teach it someone else, therefore what better way to engage students in curriculum subjects than asking them to create a program which aims to ‘teach’ another individual. Teachers could therefore show this project to students as an exemplar to inspire their own work. It could be explained to students that they will be expected to create their own interactive story for somebody else’s use. In this way, the students could effectively play a ‘teacher’ role in creating their own interactive story.
Not only would this way of implementing Scratch allow students to engage with their chosen topic, but it would also develop computational thinking and encourage independent learning in a cross-curricular way.
Students could simply work through the program during their free time or a science lesson in order to engage them with the topic and promote the subject of healthy eating and lifestyle.
What went well?
- Creating sprites and backgrounds – this is fairly straight forward and allows for personal creativity, i.e. Scratch allows you to create/find your own and import.
- Interactive aspects – this is crucial for engaging students and personalising their experience. By using this tool, users can be asked questions and the answers they give will then appear in the programme, for example ‘what is your name?’, ‘what healthy snack do you suggest?’
- Duplicating coding – the ability to recycle coding makes the Scratch program far more accessible to users. Creating projects is much more efficient if this skill is utilised effectively.
- Parallelism - co-ordinating sets of coding can be extremely complex and difficult to organise. In order to overcome this, I have kept my interactive story as simple as possible.
- Moving objects – moving the sprites and objects using co-ordinates was extremely challenging. It was a case of trial and error with this tool rather than entering co-ordinates which I knew would achieve what I wanted.
As an amateur Scratch user, my ultimate aim was to keep my interactive story as simple and as user-friendly as possible. In doing this, I kept the amount of backgrounds and sprites to a minimum and utilised the ability to re-use coding when necessary. In hindsight, I would have perhaps ‘stolen’ sets of coding from other projects in order to make the process slightly easier. This would have broadened my spectrum of uses for the Scratch program, and would have allowed me to make my project even more interactive for students to use.
Notes from the Course Tutor
These files are for use in the classroom. They can, of course, be adapted by teachers, with further resources, such as Sprites or Backgrounds, added by pupils.
I have included all the work of my teaching group here. There are many wonderful teaching ideas, and if we did not solve every coding problem effectively (none of us is an expert in Computing, including me!), the creativity of these young teachers more than makes up for it.
The teaching programme covered 30 hours of work at the computer, so if you start with one session of 60 minutes per week, you will become as proficient as they have been well before the end of your teaching year!
The key to success is to work with a partner, share ideas, and problem-solve together.