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Scratch Programming for Kids

Today’s students have a strong interest in technology and have a great aptitude for learning it. We’ve been involved with the STEM Club at J.T. Moore Middle School in Nashville for over a year, but we wanted to take our work with them a step further. That’s why we decided to host a Scratch programming workshop for interested students.

Scratch is a free, interactive programming environment developed by MIT for teaching basic computer concepts. Because the software is interactive and graphics-oriented, it is well-suited for young students who are eager to learn about programming.

Once we had the students, we needed to find the teachers. Griffin engineers Blake Merryman and Thierry Legrain answered the call and volunteered to teach a Scratch workshop. For six weeks, we hosted an hourlong class once a week at J.T. Moore Middle School. Ten students participated in the class where they learned the basic fundamentals of computer programming.

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Each week, Blake and Thierry would give the students a new project. They used projects from Code Club, a website with pre-tested and age-appropriate sample tutorials in Scratch. Each class would start with the introduction of a problem, and students were tasked with creating a specific Scratch program to solve the problem. While they followed an outline for the project, students were given creative rein and were free to create different sounds and use different themes and graphics for their project.

Technology is a rapidly growing industry, and we want to help prepare students for future tech careers. By introducing middle schools students to programming software like Scratch, it can help them determine whether a programming career is something they’re interested in so they can focus their high school studies on that. We’re looking forward to hosting similar classes in the future to help train the future techies of Nashville.

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