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Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Learn to Program By Making Cool Games Paperback – August 30, 2012

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An Excerpt from the Foreword

"Scratch is more than a piece of software. It is part of a broader educational mission. We designed Scratch to help young people prepare for life in today's fast-changing society. As young people create Scratch projects, they are not just learning how to write computer programs. They are learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively—essential skills for success and happiness in today's world.

As you read this book, let your imagination run wild. What will you create with Scratch?"

—Professor Mitchel Resnick, Director, MIT Scratch Team, MIT Media Lab

About the Author

The Learning through Engineering, Art, and Design (LEAD) Project is an educational initiative established to encourage the development of creative thinking through the use of technology. Created by The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, the LEAD project promotes hands-on, design-based activities to foster innovation, problem solving skills, and technical literacy.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: No Starch Press; 1 edition (August 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593274092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593274092
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #242,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Rod Stephens on September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book's subtitle is "Learn to program by making cool games!" but let me say right at the start: this book doesn't really teach you how to program in general. Instead it teaches you how to program the Scratch game programming environment.

Scratch is a mostly drag-and-drop environment that lets you build simple animations, play sounds, and determine when objects overlap. The book walks you through creating some very simple games such as making characters walk around the screen, collecting "dimensional strings" without getting zapped, dodging bad guys in a maze, and battling dark wizards in space.

The games are corny but don't let the simplicity of the storyline fool you. Although the games seem simple, they introduce important programming concepts. They show how to use variables, loops, events, broadcast messages, sprites, animation, timing, pseudorandom numbers, sound, and more. They also show how to use the Scratch programming environment to build programs, edit images, and interact with the user.

After reading this book and working through the example games, you won't know how to program in general-purpose languages such as Java, C++, C#, or Visual Basic, but you will know some of the fundamentals needed to understand those languages so learning them should be a bit easier. There are many differences between Scratch's drag-and-drop approach and those other languages, which require much more typing, but Scratch may provide a gentle and entertaining introduction to programming concepts. And you just might end up writing some games that are fun enough to be worth playing more than once.

The book's forward says Scratch is designed for ages 8 and up, and that seems about right.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Margot Vigeant on November 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mother of an 11yo son here. He said "I'd really like to learn to program so I can make my own games.Can I do that?"
I considered the following before discovering this book (via BoingBoing) - Alice (what, until recently, we used at my University); Mindstorms (modified LabVIEW); actual old-school command-line BASIC or similar ('cause that's what I speak). However, Alice spends way too much time in the uncanny valley, Mindstorms takes a while to debug (run, watch the robot hit a wall, troubleshoot, debug, run......), doesn't really get you to games and is also very abstract, and I wanted something he could do on his own without my help.
Enter Super Scratch - this language and this book are aimed precisely at kids who are out to create games. It's games from page 1, you can see the programmer's self-efficacy grow immediately. My son spun off on his own after lesson ~4, saying he 'sees how it works' now. He's still working his way through the book, but he's doing 'jazz' on top of the lessons. It's cool.
This is a good introduction to algorithmic thinking and common structures like "while" loops. An amusing by-product is that my son has said he prefers designing board-games now, as the instructions don't have to be as precise for humans as for machines. He gets it!
Yes, we could have used free online resources to learn Scratch, but having it laid out in a logical, appropriately paced, and non-distracting manner is a plus for the book over the Internet. Further, he enjoys the self-consciously cheesy story lines that frame the problems. That being said, I don't think I'd use this book with anyone over the age of 12 (at least until they're 20 and can appreciate irony better).
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Miller on September 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
(The following review is by my daughter.)

It's cool. I like like how the book makes it easier to figure out how Scratch works. I like how it has cartoons at the beginning of each stage. I think everyone should buy this for their kids if they have enough money for it. Anybody can get Scratch because it is free.


As an adult, I largely concur. The Scratch website has some good introductory documentation, but it's kind of hard for a kid to follow alone. This, however, is just what an inspired kid needs to dive right in. And of course the "games!" focus is a good hook. The official web site is referred to at the end of the book, and makes a great next step.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By James Earl Carter on January 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Learn by doing simple games. This is not a book that teaches programming concepts. It just shows you some really simple games you can construct yourself. But key elements of modern programming are there: blocks, event dispatch, listeners, along with usual variables and control statements. The language scratch makes it easy to write these since you cut and past graphic elements and fill in the blanks (loop limits or comparisons). This book gives you a series of 9 games to write and gives you the code. the games are simple but just what kids like: sprites move around and interact with objects in a single window. I sat with my kids after the first couple chapters once they were hooked to give them concepts like dont' re-write a simmilar peice of code when you already have a debugged one you could cut and past. I explained the idea of why we separate a listener and event (the book doesn't explain the abstraction just the practical use of them, since you have to have the sprite objects send messages to each other when they do something). They immediately got the idea of X and Y coordinates from this when they had struggled with that in homework.

I have to say I was not impressed with the book when I first flipped through it. it seemed too simple. But I recalled that I learned when I was little from a game book too. But Holy cow! I was surprised when this went down as easy as a bowl of fruit loops. The kids think of programming as a game now and beg to get more programming time instead of their other video games. They write their own code for fun then and it's of course terrible in design-- then we sit together and try to think of a better design. perfect! So this book knows its audience better than I did.
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