1, 2, 3, code ! - Cycle 2 activities - Sequence II-b. Alternative with Scratch

This sequence is an alternative to Sequence II (pages XX and on) and deals with programming an animation to tell the hero's adventure from Sequence I.


Scratch instead of Scratch Junior?

As already discussed above, for grades one through three, it is preferable to learn to program on tablets using Scratch Junior (see explanations). However, if your school does not have tablets but does have computers, you can use Scratch. (Scratch is available either online (without prior installation, but this requires a good internet connection, at the address: https://scratch.mit.edu) or offline (requiring prior installation, after downloading the software at the address: https://scratch.mit.edu/scratch2download ; available at no cost for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems).


An intermediate sequence for grades three and up

Because this is not our recommended solution, we have created this lesson plan with fewer details. However, it has been successfully tested with several third grade classes (it should not be done with first or third grade classes). Students should already have keyboard and mouse skills before starting this work.

This sequence draws from the scenario in the Cycle 2 activities (Sequence II-a), but uses the tools recommended for Cycle 3 activities (Sequence II).

The teacher can opt for one of the following:

  • Have the class tell the hero's entire story in Scratch (as we suggest in Sequence II using Scratch Junior)
  • Have students tell only one episode of the hero's story
  • Have different groups each tell a different episode. The programs created by the different groups can be linked together to tell the entire adventure. However, this can only be other by copying the different programs "by hand."

Whichever option is chosen, the class will start with the same introductory steps in Scratch, which are a review of the first lessons described in detail for grades four and up (cycle 3).


Working in half-groups

Ideally, there should be one computer for each student pair. To do this and make it easier to manage the class during the programming activities (during which the teacher will have to work closely with students), half the class can work independently on exercises not requiring assistance from the teacher while the other half of the class can work on the project. Then, the teacher can have the groups switch roles (A and B in the following lessons).


Preparing the working environment

In order to save time, it is good to prepare the working environment in advance:

  • Scratch must be installed on all computers (or accessible online)
  • A shortcut to Scratch should be placed on the desktop
  • Similarly, a dedicated folder for the project (and the class) should be easily accessible, either on the desktop or on a USB flash drive for the group.


Doing the project yourself first

It is very important for the teacher to spend two hours, during their lesson preparation time and before the first programming lesson, to get familiar with Scratch and do the same tasks the students will do during the project. Otherwise, they may not be able to help the students when they need it.

To be prepared, simply follow the lessons in this sequence.






Lesson 1

Introduction to the Scratch programming environment

Students are introduced to Scratch, an easy-to-use graphic programming environment.

Lesson 2

Making a character move

Students explore the ways to control a character's movements.

Lesson 3

Choosing the hero and controlling his movements

Students tell the first episode of their hero's adventure, where he comes out of the forest and follows the river to the sea. During this time, they cover the key ideas from the previous lesson (set of instructions, event), learn about the idea of initialization and use predefined loops ("repeat…").

Lesson 4

Programming several sprites

The students tell another episode of the hero's adventure, where he sees the treasure at the bottom of the sea and gets help to retrieve it. To do this, students learn to load a new stage, add a sprite and cover the key programming ideas from the first two lessons.

Lesson 5

Coordinating the first two episodes

Students must figure out how to make the two first episodes continue one after the other. To do this, they learn the key idea of message: a message can be sent during an instruction, and when the message is received, it can trigger one or more instructions.

Lesson 6

Different types of loops

Students tell the next episode of the hero's adventure: the octopus goes to the bottom of the sea to get the treasure and bring it back to the surface. They reinforce the key ideas from the previous lessons, namely predefined loops, and learn about infinite loops.

Lesson 7

Producing the final episode autonomously

Students work on their own to tell the last episode of their hero's adventure. They cover the key ideas from the entire sequence and finish their program.



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