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Get Physical With Coding: Connecting to the World With Scratch Extensions

Explore and create

Explore and create : Creation lab

Thursday, December 3, 1:15–2:45 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Jacy Edelman  
Kreg Hanning  
Dr. Natalie Rusk  
Jaleesa Trapp  

How can you actively engage students in creating projects that bridge physical and digital worlds? Explore extensions to the Scratch programming language that enable you and your students to make creative projects across a wide variety of subject areas — from language arts to science and sports.

Audience: Teachers, Professional developers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Sign up for a free account on the Scratch site (if you don't have one):

If you want to participate in the micro:bit workshop, you will need a micro:bit. Micro:bit offers a great list of vendors: Once you have a micro:bit, please install Scratch Link and complete the steps on the Scratch micro:bit page:

If you want to participate in the video sensing workshop, make sure your computer has a webcam.

Topic: Creativity & curation tools
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Health and physical education
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
For Students:
Innovative Designer
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The Scratch programming language has been used by millions of young people around the world to create interactive stories, games, and animations. The current version of Scratch makes it easier to connect Scratch to physical devices, enabling students to combine physical making and digital coding.

In this workshop, participants will learn how Scratch extensions can be used for interacting with the physical world. Participants will gain hands-on experience creating engaging and interactive projects using video sensing. Participants will discuss strategies for integrating use of these creative coding tools into project-based activities in their classrooms across subject areas.


Part 1 (10 minutes): Introductions with initial warm-up activity to introduce the workshop theme of getting physical with coding

Part 2 (15 minutes): Participants engage in exploring video sensing to control Scratch animations.

Part 3: (10 minutes) : Initial sharing, Demo of additional features and examples

Part 4: (40 minutes): Participants create projects using video sensing with physical movement to create an interactive game or animation.

Part 4 (15 minutes): Show and Tell of participants' projects

Part 5 (15 minutes): Demonstrations of related resources and other available extensions

Part 5 (15 minutes): Discussion and planning how to integrate Scratch physical extensions into project-based classroom activities

Supporting research

The creative learning approach used in this workshop is presented in Mitchel Resnick's book "Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play" (published by MIT Press). The approach to engaging students from diverse backgrounds in creating and coding that bridges physical and digital making has been studied and documented by the presenters, including Jaleesa Trapp (2019) and Kreg Hanning (2018).

More [+]


Jacy Edelman, Scratch Foundation
Kreg Hanning, MIT Media Lab
Dr. Natalie Rusk, MIT Media Lab
Jaleesa Trapp, MIT Media Lab

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