Saturday Enrichment Program

Course Syllabus


Winter 2012

Instructor name: Mark Spieglan

E-mail address: mark@mjspieglan.com


Course Title:  Scratching Technology, Grades 3-5


Course Description:

Create your own digital stories, animations, games, music and art.  Share your creations on the Web with Scratch, a new programming language designed to help young people produce rich interactive media while developing meaningful 21st century skills.  As students create Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, in addition to exploring the design process.  Display creations on the Scratch Web site and join a global community of Scratch programmers for ongoing collaborative learning and skill development. 


Essential Questions: 

·        How are ideas turned into computer programs?

·        How can you describe what you want in a way that a computer will “understand”? How can we discover and correct mistakes in our programs?

·        How can we write programs that both humans and computers can understand?

·        How do programmers organize their goals so that everything works correctly together?


Outcomes:  Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  1. Understand basic concepts of successful programming.
  2. Create digital stories, animations and games with the Scratch programming language.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge about sprites, stages, programming blocks, looping, conditional execution, and variables.
  4. Establish an online portfolio at http://scratch.mit.edu and interact with other Scratch programmers.
  5. Develop a capstone (“Expo”) project to demonstrate mastery of skills.


Resources and Materials:

Required resources:


Students will each be issued a USB flash drive for use during the course. These will be collected at the end of each class, but student programs will be accessible via the Internet for those who wish to work on them at home. Students may also bring their own flash drives, but copies of all work must be stored on the “official” drive. Students may keep the flash drives at the end of the course.


Students may also wish to bring a notebook and pens and/or pencils for taking notes and working on design. They will likely enjoy creating designs more if they bring colored pencils or pens.


Online resources:

Class support site: http://scratch.mjspieglan.com


Scratch web site:  http://scratch.mit.edu

Students will create an account at this site and maintain an online portfolio of projects.  Every effort will be taken to maintain privacy of the students.


Learn Scratch web site: http://learnscrach.org


Instructor Biography: 

Mark Spieglan obtained his A.B. in physics and Ph.D. in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago, and his M.S. in Computer Science from DePaul University. He has worked in software development and process management since 1982, including 17 years with AT&T / Lucent. Since 2001, he has been the principle software developer for Forecasting and Inventory Consultants, Inc. He has also done freelance work developing websites and video software tutorials, and substitute teaching at the junior high and high school levels. He is interested in using technology to enhance learning and collaboration. He previously taught Scratch as well as “Exploring Engineering” and “Genetics and Genomics” with the Saturday Enrichment Program, and “Alice” and “Java Honors” with Gifted Learning Links.







Assignments and/or Assessment

Instructional Strategies



Programming Basics

Introduction to Scratch

Scratch environment

Sprites, movement, load and save programs

Simple loops

Using the pen

Get-acquainted games

Hands-on lab/

Individual exploration



Explore example programs




Teach minimal skills to get started

Assessment of student background and interests


Sprite costumes and Paint Editor

Key-presses and mouse clicks

Mini-exercise cards

Teacher guided learning

Hands-on lab/

Individual and programmed exploration

Simple sprite drawing and animation


Impart basic skills; note individual interests and aptitudes


Advanced Paint Editor

Graphic effects

Messages and event coordination

Mini-exercise cards

Teacher guided learning

Hands-on lab/

Individual and programmed exploration

Coordinate sprites and tell stories


Impart additional skills; note individual interests and aptitudes


Variables, score-keeping

Touch-sensing: sprites and colors

Advanced movement and positioning


Optional: maze techniques

Teacher guided learning


Hands-on lab

Create programs with more complex activity and user interaction

Monitor individual progress; offer review or additional techniques depending on interest and aptitude


Create user accounts on Scratch website for sharing, ideas

Optional: understanding layers


Teacher coaching

Hands-on lab


Search Scratch site for ideas

Discuss project interests

Optional: form teams

Post or email questions from home

Independent work with coaching

Individual review as needed



Research and discuss project ideas

Create sample projects

Teacher coaching

Hands-on lab

Work on projects

Post or email questions from home

Independent work with coaching

Individual review as needed


Finalize and work on projects

Individual and team work on final project

Self-assessment Work on projects

Post or email questions from home


Independent work with coaching

Individual review as needed


Present Final Projects


Final project work

Project presentations


Feedback on presentations



















CTD Statement on Third-Party Web Sites

Instructors are required to thoroughly review any third-party web sites they intend to use in their courses for inappropriate content. However, because web content continuously changes, CTD disclaims any responsibility for any of the content contained on third-party web sites used in course materials. If you become aware of anything that may be inappropriate, please notify CTD staff immediately.