Blog: Making the jump from Scratch to Python

We’re helping West Rise students make the transition from coding blocks to a traditional text-based language

We’re working with West Rise Junior School at the moment.  Last year we built a Marsh Rover, and this year they’d like the Rover to be able to take pictures on its travels.

We reckoned the best way to do this would be with a Raspberry Pi single board computer and a Raspberry Pi camera.  These devices make it really easy to control picture taking.

All the children in the group already know how to code with Scratch but everyone was a little nervous (teachers included) when we suggested that Python was a more effective language for this particular task.

We’ve had conversations with educators who are concerned that youngsters are encouraged to code with block-based languages, but find the transition to text-based code very hard and, potentially, off-putting.

TechResort’s approach is to try small things out and see how they work, so we decided to approach teaching Python in very small steps, starting from things the group already knew.

We prepared some coding examples by giving them Python code to type, but above it showed them how it would look in Scratch to see if it helped them to work out what the code would do.  It’s not something we’ve seen elsewhere – although we’re pretty sure other people must take the same approach.

It’s early days, of course (and sometimes it’s *really* hard to translate directly between languages) but it was a hit!  One lad even going as far as saying he doesn’t really like coding in Scratch, but wanted to do more Python!

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