Developing Computational Thinking with Scratch: an experience with 8th grade students

Promoting computational thinking with 8th grade students by developing games. What will be the impact of this strategy?
Rui Miguel Sousa
José Alberto Lencastre

Promoting the development of computational thinking appears to be a fundamental skill that allows 8th grade teens to increase their analytical capacity (Wing, 2006; Resnick, 2012). To verify if the Scratch tool was a valid option for this target audience a questionnaire was administered and a demonstration was promoted. Thus, it was suggested that students develop games in Scratch targeting two major dimensions: an interdisciplinary, with the collaboration of the Art teacher in guiding the students in drawing Sprites and Stages for their own projects; and a community one, by inviting the school Road Safety Club to foster the project, in an attempt to prompt the project out of the classroom. The games focused on this issue will work as a resource for the Club activities and will be published in the Scratch official website.
The basics of the tool are being taught through the allocation of tasks oriented towards problem solving (Jonassen, 2001), according to a constructionist perspective (Coll et al, 2001), looking for students to learn how to learn: “the kind of knowledge most children need is the knowledge that will help them to get more knowledge." (Papert, 1993, p.139).
This poster aims to present the impact of this strategy on the development of computational thinking with 8th grade students using Scratch.

Coll, C., Martín, E., Mauri, T., Miras, M., Onrubia, J., Solé, I., et al. (2001). O Construtivismo na sala de aula. Porto: Edições ASA.
Jonassen, D. (2011). Learning to Solve Problems. A Handbook for Designing Problem-Solving Enviroments. New York: Routledge.
Papert, S. (1993). The Children Machine. New York: BasicBooks.
Resnick, M. (2012, July-August). Point of View - Reviving Papert's Dream. Educational Technology , 52, pp. 42-46.
Wing, J. M. (2006). Computacional Thinking. Communications of the ACM , 49 (3), 33-35.



File reference: