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Scratch User Guide: Introduction

Note: This Science Buddies user guide was written for Scratch version 1.4. A new version, Scratch 2, is now available. You can use an online version in your web browser at scratch.mit.edu, or you can download an offline version. To get started using Scratch 2, visit the official Scratch help page.

While you can use Scratch 2 for your Science Buddies project, if you would still like to use Scratch 1.4, you can download it here and follow the Science Buddies tutorial.


What is Scratch?

Scratch is an easy-to-use programming language that allows anyone (even beginners who have never programmed before!) to create their own interactive stories, games, animations, videos, art, and music on the computer. Scratch was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, and is available for free.

Scratch can be used to create just about anything you can think of. To get a sense of the range of things people make in Scratch, take a look at the various projects posted online at the MIT Scratch homepage.

Can Scratch be used for science or engineering projects?

Yes! Science Buddies has developed several science projects that use Scratch. Click here for a current list. You can also use Scratch to create your own original science project. For more advice about programming-based science projects, check out the Science Buddies The Engineering Design Process.

How do I use Scratch?

Below is a list of topics to help you get comfortable with Scratch. Feel free to read through all of them, or just click the links for the ones that you need right now.

Although these help pages cover much of what you might want to do with Scratch, the best way to learn how to do something in Scratch is to just start playing around with it. Have fun!