7 Best Free Scratch Courses to Take in 2022 — Class Central

7 Best Free Scratch Courses to Take in 2022 — Class Central

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In this article I’ve picked the best online courses to learn Scratch, a high-level visual programming language. Instead of writing text, you drag and drop blocks that fit together like puzzles to code. This ease of use allows kids, teens, and non-programmers to dip their toes into programming. Scratch also has an active community full of learners who share their creation to the world. All of the courses are beginner-friendly and free or free to audit!

Here are my top picks. Click on one to skip to the course details:

What is Scratch?

Scratch is a high-level visual programming language created by MIT to introduce kids, teens, and non-programmers to the wondrous world of programming. Being a block-based language where you can drag and drop code together like puzzle pieces instead of writing and memorizing text commands, it is significantly easier for anyone to learn and play with the language. The Scratch interface itself is also easy to navigate and contains a lot of tools like animation and sound which are often harder to implement in other languages.

But what makes Scratch even greater is its amazing community. You can find and play other people’s creations on the official Scratch website, and it is easy to share your own creation with others. You can find a lot of support and inspiration just from taking a look at other people’s projects.

Best Courses Guides Methodology

I built this ranking following the now tried-and-tested methodology used in previous Best Courses Guides (you can find them all here). It involves a three-step process:

  1. Research: I started by leveraging Class Central’s database with 100K online courses and 200K+ reviews. Then, I made a preliminary selection of 20+ courses by rating, reviews, and bookmarks.
  2. Evaluate: I read through reviews on Class Central, Reddit, and course providers to understand what other learners thought about each course and combined it with my own experience as a learner.
  3. Select: Well-made courses were picked if they presented valuable and engaging content and they have to fit in a set of criteria and be ranked accordingly: comprehensive curriculum, affordability, release date, ratings and enrollments.

Course Ranking Statistics

Here are some aggregate stats about the ranking:

  • All of the courses are free or free-to-audit.
  • All of the courses are beginner-friendly, that means no programming experience required!
  • Also, most of these courses can be taken by kids or teenagers.
  • All of the courses in this ranking use the latest version of Scratch, Scratch 3.0.
  • Around 1K people follow Scratch Courses on Class Central.

Without further ado, let’s go through the top picks.

1. CS50s Introduction to Programming with Scratch Harvard University

My #1 pick for the best Scratch course has to be CS50’s Introduction to Programming with Scratch by Harvard University.

This free course with a free certificate is designed for students with no prior experience with programming. You’ll learn the fundamentals of programming and computational thinking, whose concepts will transfer over to every other programming language you’ll learn throughout your career. Among the things you’ll build are visual stories, animations, interactive art, and even games!

What You’ll Learn

You’ll begin the course by first learning about sprites, character images that you can place on the screen and create whatever environment we want for the story. But sprites by default are static. You can make them react to events like mouse clicks by giving them instructions, otherwise known as functions. Now, you can make your sprite speak, move, and think in response to a user event!

Variables allow the program to remember information, so you can give the program your name and have the sprite greet you. You can also have the program perform computations and even make decisions based on the value with conditionals and loops, which means you can express what you want your program to do even better!

Next, you’ll learn how to think computationally starting with abstraction, which is simplifying concepts by hiding complexity. Abstractions allow you to keep track of what is going on without getting lost in the details. Finally, you’ll learn how to approach building big projects from scratch (in Scratch).

How You’ll Learn

This course is 3 weeks long, with each week taking around 2–6 hours of study. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos, reading through the lecture notes, and working your hands on the projects which come with each lecture. Once you have successfully submitted all your projects, you’ll be awarded a certificate of completion if you score at least 70% on each project.

InstitutionHarvard University
InstructorsDavid J. Malan and Brian Yu
Workload6–18 hours
CertificateFree and Paid

Fun Facts

  • The course has 303 bookmarks and 1 review on Class Central.
  • You can also opt for a paid verified certificate if you need to show your certificate to an employer or institution.
  • David J. Malan has been teaching CS50 for 15 years, first on-campus at Harvard, and on edX since 2012.
  • Brian is a Software Engineer at Automattic. He works alongside David to deliver the best educational experience on programming.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

2. Code Yourself An Introduction to Programming University of Edinburgh

My second pick for the best Scratch course is Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming.

This free-to-audit course is a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and Universidad ORT Uruguay. It aims to introduce beginners with no programming experience to the fundamental principles of programming, computer science, and computational thinking. By the time you finish this course, you’ll be able to think like a software engineer ready to embark on more advanced programming adventures.

What You’ll Learn

The very first unit of the course plunges you right into the world of programming by tasking you to create your very first computer program! But first, the course introduces you to a few computer science concepts like algorithms, sequences, selections, and iterations, all of which you’ll use later on.

Next, control-structures will be introduced. Loops allow you to repeat blocks of code, while conditionals allow the program to choose between two blocks of code. You’ll also learn about event-based programming for reacting to user events, before learning about software engineering principles for designing software.

In the real-world, you’ll most likely work on code others have already written rather than write your own from scratch. Hence, you’ll learn how to modify code while also maintaining good practice of testing and documenting code. Additionally, you’ll see why code reuse is useful and how modularity and flexibility makes code much neater.

The last week of the course will help you create and publish your own game. You’ll use  software development principles to guide your process, as well as learn more advanced programming concepts coordination, concurrency and message broadcasting, and computational complexity.

How You’ll Learn

The course is 5 weeks long with 12 hours worth of material. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos accompanied by code examples and in-video pop-up questions. You’ll also learn from watching the optional interviews with computer experts and professionals in other fields and learn from their experience. You’ll gain theoretical knowledge from answering the quizzes and gain practical knowledge from completing two peer-graded programming projects.

InstitutionsUniversity of Edinburgh and Universidad ORT Uruguay
InstructorsAreti Manataki and Inés Friss de Kereki
Workload12 hours
Rating4.7 / 5.0 (3K)

Fun Facts

  • The course has 9.1K bookmarks and 12 reviews on Class Central.
  • It is also available in Spanish as it is a collaboration with Universidad ORT Uruguay.
  • This course can be taken by both adults and teens.
  • Although you need to pay to receive a certificate, you do not need to pay to receive a grade which is rare in other courses.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

3. Introduction to Programming with Scratch Raspberry Pi Foundation

My third pick for the best course to learn Scratch is Introduction to Programming with Scratch, a collaboration between the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the National Centre for Computing Education.

This free-to-audit course will give you an exciting introduction to block-based programming and help you start your journey into the world of coding. Throughout the course, you’ll create your own animations and games, and by the end, you’ll be able to create your own programs and share your creations with the community.

No prior experience with programming is required to take this course.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll start this course with an introduction to the Scratch programming language and the fundamentals of working with sprites, costumes, and backdrops. Then, you’ll build on your knowledge of core programming concepts and how best to use them, from sequencing and repetition to selection and variables. You’ll also learn about the Scratch programming community and how to interact with them by playing other people’s games and even publishing your own games.

Next, you’ll learn how to produce Scratch programs that allow the user to interact with them with keypresses, text answers, and motion. Using Scratch extensions, you’ll also learn how to create programs that draw shapes, play music, and even sense the user’s movements using a webcam. And in the final part of the course, you’ll bring all of your new programming knowledge and skills together by building your own game or animation.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 4 weeks long with each week taking 2 hours to complete. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos, contributing to the peer-led discussions, joining trainer interactions, and working hands-on on practical activities.

InstitutionsRaspberry Pi Foundation and National Centre for Computing Education
Workload8 hours
Rating4.9 / 5.0 (13)

Fun Facts

  • The course has 117 bookmarks on Class Central.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

4. How to Make a Tower Defense Game in Scratch Fuelvin

Perhaps you already know some Scratch programming but are unaware of how to actually practice and use it. Well, look no further than Fuelvin’s free tutorial on How to Make a Tower Defense Game in Scratch. By the end of the tutorial, you’ll have a solid grasp of Scratch programming concepts.

What You’ll Learn

This tutorial guides you through the process of building a tower defense game. You’ll learn the concepts necessary to make:

  • Enemies that follow a custom path;
  • Turrets that can be purchased and placed on the map;
  • Several types of turrets that aim and shoot at enemies;
  • Multiple enemy types with different health and move speed;
  • Enemy health bars using pen;
  • Shop that displays the turrets and turret descriptions;
  • Enemy wave system, cash, player lives, and a lose screen;
  • Custom and infinite waves with increasingly stronger and faster enemies.

By the end, you’ll have a fun tower defense game that you can improve upon and share with your friends.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 5 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the video tutorials and following along with the instructor as he codes.

Workload5 hours

Fun Facts

  • Fuelvin posts in-depth Scratch tutorials for both beginner and advanced Scratchers.
  • He has experience creating mobile games, having published two games called Flingy Fruit and The Last Chicken on Earth both available on Android and iOS.
  • You can join his Discord community here.
  • This course can be taken by both adults and children.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

5. 5 Projects In 5 Days Scratch Game Programming For Kids Little Apple Academy

5 Projects In 5 Days – Scratch Game Programming For Kids, as the course name implies, is a free beginner-level game development course designed for kids. You’ll learn the basics of game development through fun, interactive hands-on projects. By the end of this course, you’ll have made five games to add to your portfolio.

No programming experience is required.

What You’ll Learn

Your first project is Graffiti with Gobo, where you’ll learn how to place multicolored stickers of Gobo, a fish, on screen so that you can draw anything you want.

In Fortune Fish, you’ll turn Gobo into a fortune teller. Give it a yes or no question, and he’ll tell you what the future holds.

For Taco Chase, you’ll control a mouse whose goal is to grab all the tacos while avoiding nasty batts.

Berry Bounce will have you create a game where you need to catch all the strawberries falling from the sky and prevent them from touching the ground.

And in the final game, Battle At Bay, you’ll make a game where a shark must defend itself against jellyfish by shooting pufferfish at them.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1–2 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the course videos and following along with the instructor as she codes the games.

InstitutionLittle Apple Academy
InstructorsHarita Suresh and Sharada Suresh
Workload1–2 hours
Rating5.0 / 5.0 (4)

Fun Facts

  • Harita and Sharada are the co-founders of Little Apple Academy, a non-profit organization that teaches free online coding classes to kids. They have been featured by PBS, Code(.)org, and Scratch. Both have taught Scratch, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python to students in nine countries.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

6. Scratch 3.0 Tutorial Starcoder

Scratch 3.0 Tutorial covers the basics of Scratch programming through three Scratch projects — animating cats, creating a maze game, and remaking the classic game Pong.

Anyone who wants to learn programming can take this course, no prior knowledge required!

What You’ll Learn

The course begins by introducing you to the common blocks and concepts you’ll need to use when you start a project. But, the course quickly jumps into the first project so you’ll learn by doing.

The first project is called Move the Cat, and this project introduces you to user interaction, animating sprites, and making sprites move across the screen.

The second project will have you create your first game, which is navigating a maze. You’ll learn about event-driven programming and specify a win condition if your sprite manages to get to the exit, and a loss condition if your sprite touches the walls of the maze.

The third and final project will have you recreate the classic Pong game. Much more in-depth, you’ll use all of the concepts you’ve learned so far (as well as learn some new ones) to create a fun game of Pong.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1–2 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the course videos and following along with the instructor as she codes. You’ll also be given short quizzes to test your knowledge, and also have the opportunity to share your creation with other learners.

InstructorCS Kitty
Workload1–2 hours
Rating4.4 / 186)

Fun Facts

  • CS Kitty is a student interested in programming, mathematics, physics, reading, and writing.
  • She started Project Starcoder in 2019 and created starcoder.org website to host her coding tutorial videos and my writings.
  • She also has a free Udemy course on Python.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

7. The Ultimate 2022 Scratch Programming Course Naveed Chaudhry

The Ultimate 2022 Scratch Programming Course is designed for kids and non-programmers who think programming is difficult.

You’ll be introduced to the world of programming by creating fun animations in Scratch. You’ll learn programming concepts that’ll appear in every other programming language, so by the end of this free course you’ll be prepared to learn more complex programming languages such as Java, Python, and C#.

What You’ll Learn

You’ll begin the course by familiarizing yourself with the Scratch interface. Then, you’ll discover the different code blocks within Scratch that will allow you to animate characters on screen. Afterward, you’ll be given simple programming challenges to prepare you for event driven programming.

Event driven programming makes your animations interactive by allowing them to respond to user or environmental interactions. You’ll change the appearance of cats and parrots to make it look like they are walking or flying, and even make them meow and chirp!

Now that you have mastered animating, you’ll take your first steps towards mastering game development. You’ll recreate the classic game of Pong by using all the blocks you’ve learned throughout the course.

How You’ll Learn

This course is 1–2 hours long. You’ll learn by watching the lecture videos, completing the programming challenges, and by hands-on practice making animations.

InstructorNaveed Chaudhry
Workload1–2 hours
Rating4.5 / 5.0 (37)

Fun Facts

  • Naveed is a software developer who is passionate about providing computer literacy to kids from a very young age.

If you’re interested in this course, you can find more information about the course and how to enroll here.

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