Geometric Shapes and Scratch

In the July 1, 2018 issue of Digital Maestro Magazine, I explore the use of Scratch for teaching basic geometry skills. The first lessons begin with the basics. We draw squares and rectangles. Within each project, we learn to use the power of coding to calculate the perimeter and area. 

We take the lesson on squares and rectangles one step further. Students learn to create and reference variables in code. They code scratch to provide visual feedback on solutions for the area and perimeter.

The next set of lessons take us to right triangles. Right triangles take a little more coding and math to draw. We learn to use the Pythagorean theorem in our code to determine the hypotenuse. To draw the hypotenuse we need to introduce some trigonometry. We solve for the tangent and arc-tangent. The arc-tangent provides the angle to draw the hypotenuse. The angle is critical to orient the line. 

The final set of lessons takes us to circles. We have to option to use simple instructions to draw a circle. These instructions are best for younger students. A second option uses trigonometry to draw the circle. We use sine and cosine in our draw equation. 

This option provides greater flexibility. We can adjust the radius. We use the radius option to solve for the area and circumference of a circle. This skill extended with code to solve for the area and circumference of a circle. 

The projects will extend their skills with variables by creating sliders. Sliders work with variables and create a visual interface for values. Sliders are a good way for students to update the values in the equation.

The projects include events to trigger a program. You will learn how to create many event triggers. Different events triggers are used to run different portions of a program. There are triggers that use clicks on objects or keyboard presses. Keyboard presses include letters, numbers, and other keys like the spacebar.

Scratch uses a coordinate system like the coordinate system used in math. We learn how this system is different. Welearn to accommodate for the difference when drawing shapes. In the final step, we insert a backdrop that provides a visual for the coordinate system.

Scratch is a coding environment designed to help young children learn to code. It is part of an MIT project for education and young children. In the February 14th issue of Digital Maestro Magazine, I published a set of instructions. The instructions show how to set up an educator account and create accounts for students. 

With an educator account, we create accounts for students. An educator account includes options for creating classrooms. Students join these classrooms with a code. Classrooms are a way for students to submit their projects for review. Teachers create studios within classrooms to organize and curate student projects.