Coding in the Community, Scratch Tidbits and Tips

Welcome GEMS Girls!!!!

We are happy to welcome the girls attending the 2016 GEMS event at Niles West High School on April 16th and visiting our Web site. We hope you may be inspired to participate in a coding club for girls too!  Or maybe even to be a Founder of a new club in your area.

I am honored to be a presenter at the event as a representative of our Fox Valley Girls Coding Club and of the Illinois Technology Foundation and am very much looking forward to meeting the girls interested in learning about coding as a profession or just as something very fun to do.

We will be doing a hands-on session that includes an introduction to Scratch, a graphical programming language, the same one that we use here at Fox Valley Girls Coding Club to get started with coding. Here are notes from the session if anyone would like them:   Introduction to Scratch

Scratch Tidbits and Tips

Silly Example of Scratch Data Lists

Last week, an obnoxiously long texting acronym made it’s way into our conversation. I was reminded how I really need to brush up on this sort of super important information. So I wrote a Scratch app that uses two data lists to allow me to look up an acronym from a list of ten. This example uses variables, data lists, user input and a cute little orange martian guy. I wonder what would happen if I enter one that isn’t on the list? Why don’t you try it and find out!


Scratch Tidbits and Tips

About Face!

At our last meeting we had the question of whether we could set up our Sprites to face the direction of their movement automatically instead of having separate costumes for mirror images. It turns out that we can use the Rotation Style setting of each sprite to do that!

In this example, the characters will all start moving to the right and are programmed to make a 180 turn when touching the edge. How they look on their return trip to the left depends  on the Rotation Style setting.

Scratch Rotation Style
Scratch Rotation Style

Here they are after the 180; they are all moving to the left although one looks to be upside down and another moves “backward”:


Design Time vs Run Time Property Settings: Setting the Rotation Style in the IDE (Integrated Development Environment) as above is an example of a Design Time Property Setting. We can also change the Rotation Style during the program execution, i.e. Run Time,  by using the Set Rotation Style command in the Motion section of scripts. 

Scratch Tidbits and Tips

Hold That Tiger!

If you’ve spent millions of hours perfecting your artistic rendition of a new Sprite in Scratch’s costume editor, (let’s say an adorable tiger!) and another billion hours working out the complex script for the little guy’s dance moves, you may want to re-use the costume art and/or the script in the same project and you’ll definitely want to save them for posterity.

Here’s how to “leverage existing code” (programmers like to say stuff like that and managers LOVE to hear it!)

Code Re-Use is Essential to a Programmer!!!!!!!!