2. Getting Started on Scratch

Scratch is an ideal way to start learning how to code. Instead of being bogged down with learning the syntax, you can focus on learning the structure used in programming. Also, you can learn a lot just by playing people’s projects and looking inside them to see how they work. Even better, you can remix them and play with them yourself.

2.1 Introduction to Scratch

scratch.mit.edu/projects/112649617/

View our Introduction to Scratch Presentation on Scratch. You can use this to introduce Coders for Liberty in meetings as well.

2.2 Google CS First

cs-first.com

Google CS First offers great tutorials for beginning programmers. Click try now to view materials.

2.2.1 Story Telling

https://www.cs-first.com/course/storytelling/video/2692

2.2.1.2 Dialogue

https://www.cs-first.com/studentpage/introduction-dialogue-and-sequencing

View our example project here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/123439001/

2.2.1.4 Premise: Sprite v. Society

https://www.cs-first.com/studentpage/introduction-premise

You can also use variables to make the project easier to edit later. For example, you can use variables for candidate names and make it easy for people to remix and use in the next election cycle. https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/123667872/

2.3 Dance Party

scratch.mit.edu/projects/111675932/

Use motion blocks, event, and control blocks to create your own dancing animation. Build your own blocks to make it even easier to choreography.

Programming is essentially choreography for computers. Most steps are simple. However they can become redundant, and it is easier to group steps into sets of instructions. Often these groups of commands are called functions in other programming languages.

2.4 Super Mario Lozano

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/63209930

This Mario parody game features Mario Lozano from the Harrison County Libertarian Party. It also features music by The Cooters. Play the game like Gary Johnson campaigns, stomp on Trump and avoid touching Hillary.

You can put your custom block skills you learned in 2.3 to use and add your own levels and enemies. That’s actually what I did. The game was originally made by PaulKoning. Just click See Inside and click Remix.

PaulKoning made custom blocks to make making your levels easy. Just go to the block or enemy you want to add to your level and make a when I receive “next level” event and an if level = the level number and put in createInstance blocks and specify where you want the block or enemy to appear.

For the Trumps, you can specify how far you want the Trump to wander with the third number. For the cannons, you can specify if you want them to shoot left (0) or right (1) with the third number.

You can also look at some of the later levels to see how I used loops to place multiple blocks and randomly placed blocks and enemies in some levels.

2.4 Make Mine Better

scratch.mit.edu/projects/112373699/

You may have heard the Newton quote, “If I have seen further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.”*  Personally, I like the Gauss quote better, “Mathematicians stand on each other’s shoulders.” It’s closer to reality of what drives innovation. Sometimes the giants are wrong or just not quite there yet. Sometimes a few tweaks on someone’s previous work or ideas can make them that much more awesome.

Case in point, Make Mine Moderate. This project asks users to rate candidates on how liberal or conservative they are to see who is the most moderate. Can you see a problem with this project? How can you make it better? Click the Remix button and fix it. If you get stuck do not be afraid to ask the community for help. When you are done, add it to the Make Mine Better studio.

2.5 Learn More on YouTube

If you get stuck or want more ideas, check out our Scratch playlist on YouTube.

2.6 Help Others Learn

Explore the website and find a project that is great but could use a little work. Add a comment that states what you like about it and how it can be improved. Include words of encouragement. If you would like to demonstrate how a project can be improved upon, click See Inside and then Remix and make your improvements.

Congratulations, you have completed the level 2 training!

Onward to Level 3!

*If you’ve heard Adam Kokesh talk about Intellectual Property.

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