D. Nixon: CS 12 > Tutorials > Intro to programming

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Computer Science 12


Tutorials on Programming (very basic intro)




Week 1: Scratch intro

Scratch is a multi-purpose tool that enables a gentle introduction to programming, suitable for middle-school children, and which also makes it easy to create animations and games. Recently it has become fashionable to try to teach basic programming concepts to children in an age-appropriate way. (There is even a Scratch Junior, aimed at kindergarteners.)

Why should adults too learn Scratch and similar tools? So that (1) you can know what your kids are learning in school, (2) you too can be introduced to basic programming concepts as painlessly as possible, and (3) you and your kids can have fun creating animations and games. If you happen to be an aspiring professional artist, Scratch may be of professional interest to you as well.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  We are still using Scratch 2 this semester. The latest version of Scratch is Scratch 3, which came out only in January 2019. We have not yet updated our assignments and tutorial material to be compatible with Scratch 3. Furthermore, Scratch 3 itself appears to be somewhat buggy (as new major software versions often are) and is not yet accompanied by adequate tutorial material. Therefore, do NOT use Scratch 3, which is incompatible with Scratch 2.

If you already installed Scratch 3, please uninstall it as follows, to ensure that it does not interfere with Scratch 2:

  1. Open the Windows Start menu.
  2. Right click on the scratch-desktop application in the Start menu.
  3. Select uninstall.
  4. When the unistaller window opens, make sure that "scratch-desktop" is selected in the window and then click on "unistall".


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Week 2: Scratch drawing tools


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Week 3: More Scratch animation examples

See Scratch's built-in tutorials, listed on the right hand side of your Scratch window when you click "Tips" in the menu at the top left.

See also Notes on some Scratch tutorials, especially Notes on the "Birthday Card" tutorial, Notes on the "Make It Fly" tutorial, and The "Make It Fly" tutorial revisited.


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Week 4: Scratch: Intro to variables, if/then/else, and simple games.

See Scratch's built-in tutorials, listed on the right hand side of your Scratch window when you click "Tips" in the menu at the top left.

See also Notes on some Scratch tutorials, especially the following:


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Week 5: Problem-solving techniques, and more Scratch animation examples.

  1. This week's Scratch tutorials::
  2. We will again be using some of Scratch's built-in tutorials, listed on the right hand side of your Scratch window when you click "Tips" in the menu at the top left. This week we will be using the following tutorials: "Hide-and-Seek Game", "Create A Story", and "Create a Pong Game".

    See also Notes on some Scratch tutorials, especially the notes on "Hide-and-Seek Game", "Create A Story", and "Create a Pong Game".

  3. Overview of algorithmic problem-solving skills::
  4. The following tutorials discuss the most important skills needed to write programs in any language. These same skills are also useful when writing relatively complicated Excel formulas, e.g. formulas using multiple IF functions.

    See also this week's tutorials on solving math word problems.


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Week 6: Scratch: animations with automatic decision-making and user input.

Review the following, in Notes on some Scratch tutorials:

Then see Additional tutorials on Scratch, especially the following:


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Week 7: Scratch interactive animation example.

Scratch interactive animation example.


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D. Nixon: CS 12 > Tutorials > Intro to programming