CS 325 and Film 385AB: Introduction to Scratch


Scratch Logo
imagine • program • share

Highlights of this lab:

  • What is Scratch?
  • The Scratch Community
  • The Scratch Environment
  • Tutorials
  • Assignment

:: What is Scratch? ::

Scratch is an easy to learn multimedia system that encourages community interaction and knowledge sharing. It is primarily intended to be an educational tool for younger users, but it can be enjoyed by people of any age. It features an asset management system based on sprites - objects that can have scripted behaviours, changeable appearances and sounds. The sprites are controlled by a surprisingly powerful andn easy to learn graphical scripting language. Think of it as a good first step toward learning Flash programming


:: The Scratch Community ::

Like many modern multimedia technologies, one of Scratch's best features is it's website and user community. Scratch users can use the desktop based design tool to create and play with their own creations. Doing requires no registration. However, if you want to share your work on the web, you can publish it to the Scratch website at MIT. Once it is there, users can try your work, leave you comments, and, perhaps most excitingly, remix your work. You can remix other's work too. All contributers to remixed work are properly attributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License - and there's a cool way to see how the remixes all fit together.

Scratch Website


:: The Scratch Environment::

  1. Program Block Categories: Program blocks are organized in to logical categories to make the easier to find.
  2. Program Blocks: Once you have selected a category, drag block from here into the scripting area.
  3. Asset Editor: This panel can edit scripts, pictures (costumes) and sounds associated with a sprite or the stage.
  4. Asset Manager: You can create or import sprites with the icons at the top. Select assets to edit them. Drag them onto the stage to put them in your project.
  5. Editing Tools: Use these to edit your scripts or to manage your sprites. The tools are, from left to right, Clone, Delete, Grow and Shrink.
  6. Presentation Mode: Some effects don't work in the preview stage. You have to switch to presentation mode to see them.
  7. Stage: Drag sprites here if you want them to be part of the completed project. Sprites can be moved, grown or shrunk here. It is also possible to see messages here.
  8. Start/Stop: Many projects won't do anything until you press the green flag. If Scratch seems to slow down, but the stage isn't showing any action, a script may be stuck in a loop. Press the red stop button to stop all scripts.

:: Tutorials ::

Your lab instructor will lead you through an introductory tutorial in your lab session. If you need more help, you can use the excellent video tutorials on the Scratch site, or you can look at/remix an existing project (registration required).

Click here for the video tutorial page.


:: Assignment ::

For this lab assignment try to complete these challenges:

OR Create a multimedia extravaganza. Use a wide variety of program blocks to control your project.

Marking Scheme

What to submit:

This is due at the beginning of your lab next week.

:: Online Source(s) ::