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Project-Based Learning With Scratch

Explore and create
Pre-registration required

Explore and create : BYOD

Monday, June 24, 4:00–5:00 pm
Location: 118B

Jared O'Leary  
Learn about the various approaches of project-based learning with Scratch, including backwards, inquiry-based and emergent-project designs. Explore free Scratch project examples and resources.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: A Scratch account would be helpful to save projects; however, this is not required.
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Project-, problem- and challenge-based learning
Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
  • Students formulate problem definitions suited for technology-assisted methods such as data analysis, abstract models and algorithmic thinking in exploring and finding solutions.
  • Students collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The purpose of this session is twofold: a) provide an introduction to different types of project-based learning (e.g., backwards, inquiry-based, and emergent design) and how they lie on the project continuum (i.e., fixed, flexible, or open), and b) to give time to allow attendees to explore the free project-based resources I have created for Scratch. Everyone will walk away with dozens of lesson plans and resources to get them started with project-based learning with Scratch.


20 minutes - Introduction to project-based learning
- Brief explanation of what project-based learning is and why people engage in it
- Discuss fixed project criteria
- Discuss open project questions
- Discuss flexible projects, which combines aspects of fixed and open projects
- Explain some considerations for designing projects
- Introduce backwards design model (fixed)
- Introduce inquiry-based design model (flexible)
- Introduce emergent design model (open)
- Explain how I used these approaches in my own classroom

30 minutes - Exploring project-based learning with Scratch resources
- Walk through the resources we will be exploring today
- Demonstrate the videos, visual guides, debugging, and project extensions available for each project
- Demonstrate where to find the resources
- Provide a QR code and tinyurl that directs everyone to the free resources I have created
- Walk around and facilitate one-on-one while everyone explores the resources

10 minutes - Open discussion of resources
- Open the floor to discussion on project-based learning and the free resources I shared

Note: this session will be modified from the CSTA presentation I gave on this topic (link to slides at the top of the page):

Supporting research

The research that informs this approach is based on project-based learning, CS education, interest-driven education, affinity spaces, community of practices, informal learning, expertise and skill acquisition, etc. You can find presentations that provide supporting evidence at the following link:

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Jared O'Leary, BootUp PD

Jared O’Leary is a multiplicity whose research interests include music engagement and learning through video games and interactive audio; affinity, hybrid, and participatory music engagement and learning; and the intersections between music engagement, learning, and computer science. At BootUp PD (, Jared is the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development. Visit to stay up to date with his latest research.

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