On the 11th of May, every year, the world marks the celebration of the invention of Scratch; a free interactive software that helps young people program their own interactive stories, games, and animations. Scratch also provides the platform for them to share their creations with others via an online community. Scratch Day provides a one-day global network of events where people around the world gather to celebrate Scratch, the free coding platform and online community for users. It is a day that inspires people – beginners or experienced – to make and share creative projects. During the event, young people get impacted with 21st century essential skills like creative thinking, systematic reasoning, and collaboration.
Girls Voices Initiative marked this global day to code, collaborate, design games, and animate using the Scratch software. We worked with 25 adolescent girls to use the Scratch Day celebration to show what young girls can create, when given the right platform. The event engaged 25 girls from the Government Day Secondary School (GDSS) Wuse II, Abuja. The activities included setting up the class, storytelling, game development with Scratch and networking.
The girls were engaged with a story as an icebreaker. Next, the girls were taught how to design a maze game using Scratch 3.0, they learnt how to create games by first writing a pseudocode or algorithm, then using the platform to create their games and program the sprites to carry out specific task as written in their pseudocode. They also learnt how sprite moves on the platform by adopting the cartesian plane XY movements. After the training, the girls were able to come up with wonderful maze designs and sprite obstacles. They were also able to program their sprites to carry out certain tasks.
The girls were excited to learn to design and play their own games, they were happy to program a maze game likened to the renowned Super Mario and they created obstacles and played against one another. Not only were they able to make their own games, but they also got a better insight to the cartesian plane and how to easily understand the XY movements by adopting the movement of the sprite. They were also able to understand how a computer program works and how games are designed. The girls were fast learners and they committed to teach their peers. Also present throughout the training was the IT teacher. The Scratch Software was downloaded on the teacher’s computer to guarantee the sustainability of the intervention, so the girls have continued access to the software to advance their learning.