SK Uses ScratchJr Coding to become Game Designers

By the Integrated Learning and Information Science Department
This spring, Senior Kindergarteners designed and coded their own video games using the ScratchJr coding app. During the school year, SK students have been learning the different coding blocks in ScratchJr, including how to create sprites (or characters), add and create backgrounds and code their characters to move, and talk and interact with each other. This project combined all the coding they had learned and added some new code blocks so they could make their own Space Invaders-style video game.

During ILIS Library we started with reading the book Ava in Codeland by Tess Hitchman, a picture book about a girl who lives in a video game and how she codes and makes the world. We also read The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywatt, a super-funny book about how Rock, Paper and Scissors met and became the amazing game it is today. We talked about how games are created and designed, as well as how they are designed and made with code. Then we presented students with their design challenge! They would be coding and making video games using ScratchJr, inspired by the classic video game Space Invaders.

During the next several weeks, each SKer added a background, a main character, objects to hit and an object to throw, right and left arrows and a shoot button. Students picked the theme they wanted for their games, ranging from forests and oceans to outer space and the moon. They also picked different characters like stars and flowers, giraffes and fish, etc. SKers made it as fun and silly as they wanted. They used skills they had developed during the school year to make and add all the elements they needed for their games.

The next step was coding! Students learned new code blocks including “when sprite pressed” and “send message” to code the arrows to send a message to the main character to move left and right. They learned “bump into,” which triggers code to start when two characters bump into each other. When the object their character threw in the air hit another object, it would disappear. SKers learned how to use the timer to delay a character’s code and the speed block to make a character speed up or slow down at different times. They also learned how to add multiple lines of code to one character and how different triggers make the different code lines work.

After everyone finished coding and testing their game, we had a Video Game Share Out Extravaganza! All of the iPads were set up with the SK games ready to share, and all of the SKers rotated around and were able to play each other’s games. The Senior Kindergarteners were so creative with the games they designed and learned new code blocks to make deeper connections on how code connects and continued to advance their coding skills.

Click here to see photos and videos of their work.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.