Yesterday I had the pleasure of giving a group of upper and lower sixth students from Cottingham High School
a session on Scratch. Scratch is a visual programming environment to give people a gentle introduction to programming.

Pong –  this game is clearly heading to be an epic battle!

In Scratch you can create sprites from image files and then give them scripts by dragging around code elements that fit together like jigsaw pieces. If you’re a programmer you can probably figure out what the code below is doing. In fact, you could probably figure it out even if you’re not a programmer.

A script in Scratch

I was a little worried that what I had prepared was too much to get through, but the students did really well, even though my print outs were black and white and scratch relies heavily on colour. If you want to play my simple pong game you can find it here. You might have to download some plugins though.

Towards the end of the session I was asked to talk a little about the sorts of things we do on our university courses. I talked for a couple of minutes and there seemed to be a genuine interest – but nothing made the students faces light up more than when I talked to them about three thing game. Apparently the idea of getting in a load of pizza and staying up all night coding is very appealing.