Scratch User Guide: Introduction

Scratch Tutorial Note

This user guide was written for Scratch version 1.4, which is available for download here. Additional tutorials are available on the download page.

The newest version of Scratch (2.0) is based on Adobe Flash Player, which will be retired in 2020 due to security flaws. Due to these security risks, Science Buddies has chosen not to update our projects to Scratch 2.0. While the projects will work in Scratch 2.0, the locations and apperances of some buttons and features in Scratch 2.0 may differ from what is described in this tutorial.

If you want to use Scratch 2.0, you can download an offline version here. If you must use the browser-based version (for example, you are using a school computer where you cannot install software), you can access it here. Note that you may need to enable Adoble Flash Player in your browser to get Scratch to work.


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. Note that most of the projects featured on the homepage are written in Scratch 2.0, but you can write identical programs in Scratch 1.4.

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!