In our latest lesson pack release, Moving from Scratch to Python, we aim to introduce Python to students who have, up until now, done most of their programming in Scratch. Making the move from block to text-based programming can be a daunting transition for some students, particularly those who may not be comfortable with typing and spelling. However, students that have already programmed Marty with Scratch, can use Marty as a common factor, harnessing the familiarity between the functions of Marty Scratch and Marty Python. This makes the shift to text-based languages a lot less scary.
Scratch is fantastic for introducing programming to students and allows for an inviting and approachable way for students to explore coding techniques. In order to keep their interests peaked, however, it is important that we continue to introduce new technologies to students. It is also now becoming more common for digital technologies/computing curriculums to ask for students to cover 2 different types of programming languages (usually block-based and at least one text-based language). This is especially true in Scotland and England as outlined in the benchmarks that we align to in our online lesson plans.
Consisting of four lessons, students will start off with revising Scratch by creating a small project where they have to feature at least one randomly selected programming block. Students will then complete some short off-screen activities with both Scratch blocks and Python commands to compare the algorithms for the two languages. This will allow for not only differences to be highlighted but also similarities as hopefully students will realise they need to apply the same logical thinking and all that has changed is the way of asking Marty to do certain things.
We focus on using IDLE in the remaining two lessons, an editor that is usually installed alongside Python. Firstly using the Python shell where students can start to test out different commands before creating files and short scripts. The final lesson consists of a treasure hunt where students have to crack the clues and debug files to find out a secret about Marty!
Included in this lesson pack: lesson plans, links to curriculum (Curriculum for Excellence, National Curriculum and the Australian F-10 Curriculum), teacher guides, student workbooks (as shown in the image above), PowerPoint slides, sample solutions and any additional worksheets needed.