Using Scratch in Middle Years Maths classes

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 3.20.13 PM

Prior to Victorian Education Week  (May 17th to 23rd) my Year 7 and 8 Maths classes are participating in the “Crack the Code with Maths” challenge. The challenge is to create and upload one or all of three projects in Scratch.  Scratch is simple-to-use software, that allows users to create animations using drag-and-drop commands. I am using this free program, pre-installed on our government school laptops, as part of our geometry learning this term.

Scratch is an open-ended platform, allowing students to be imaginative and create an infinite variety of characters (called ‘sprites’) and backgrounds. The ‘sprite’ performs on a stage, which is based on the Cartesian Co-ordinate system, with (0,0) at the centre. The user creates an animation using simple drag-and-drop commands, such as ‘go to (x,y)’; ‘move 100 steps’ or ‘turn 90 degrees’.

The following links are some examples of what can be achieved with Scratch.

Some general, transferrable skills that you can learn with Scratch:

  • Logical and creative thinking
  • Systematic reasoning with instant feedback
  • Communication and collaboration with peers
  • Problem solving
  • Developing patience and persistence
  • Greater sense of control and responsibility for the learning process

Students can learn many maths concepts using Scratch, such as:

  • Cartesian co-ordinate system
  • Identifying, creating and naming angles (acute, right, obtuse, straight and reflex)
  • Identifying, creating and naming polygons
  • How to calculate the perimeter of polygons
  • How to calculate the area of polygons

Below I have documented the various Australian Curriculum standards that can be learned using Scratch tasks:

Year 4

  • Compare and describe two dimensional shapes that result from combining and splitting common shapes, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMMG088)
  • Create symmetrical patterns, pictures and shapes with and without digital technologies (ACMMG091)
  • Compare angles and classify them as equal to, greater than or less than a right angle (ACMMG089)

Year 5

  • Calculate the perimeter and area of rectangles using familiar metric units (ACMMG109)
  • Describe translations, reflections and rotations of two-dimensional shapes. Identify line and rotational symmetries (ACMMG114)
  • Apply the enlargement transformation to familiar two dimensional shapes and explore the properties of the resulting image compared with the original (ACMMG115)
  • Estimate, measure and compare angles using degrees. (Construct angles using a protractor) (ACMMG112)

Year 6

  • Introduce the Cartesian coordinate system using all four quadrants (ACMMG143)
  • Investigate, with and without digital technologies, angles on a straight line, angles at a point and vertically opposite angles. Use results to find unknown angles (ACMMG141)
  • Investigate combinations of translations, reflections and rotations, with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMMG142)

Year 7

  • Describe translations, reflections in an axis, and rotations of multiples of 90° on the Cartesian plane using coordinates. Identify line and rotational symmetries (ACMMG181)
  • Classify triangles according to their side and angle properties and describe quadrilaterals (ACMMG165)
  • Given coordinates, plot points on the Cartesian plane, and find coordinates for a given point (ACMNA178)

Year 8

  • Investigate the relationship between features of circles such as circumference, area, radius and diameter. Use formulas to solve problems involving circumference and area (ACMMG197)
  • Plot linear relationships on the Cartesian plane with and without the use of digital technologies (ACMNA193)
  • Define congruence of plane shapes using transformations (ACMMG200)

More Scratch Links:

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