Intro to Programming with Scratch

Scratch is a free, online, graphical programming language/learning environment that allows students to learn about computer programming and computational thinking without worrying about complicated syntax.  It was created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Lab at the MIT Media Lab and is designed for students aged 8-18 but is used by programmers of a variety of age and experience levels.

This course is appropriate for teachers of all disciplines who teach 3-12th grade.  Participants will learn how to use Scratch for interactive art, animated storytelling, and game development.  Previous programming experience is not a requirement for this course.

This course will be taught via online materials including instructional videos, guided “laboratory” activities, and programming assignments.  The course will consist of six modules of instruction and require approximately 20-25 hours to complete.


The course is traditionally offered three times a year.  Upcoming offerings include:

  • Summer: June 7-July 23, 2021
  • Fall: September 21-October 29, 2021
  • Spring 2022: TBD

We strongly encourage teachers to participate in a formal offering of the course.  During a formal offering of the course you will have the opportunity to interact with teachers working on the same projects that you are completing and participate in peer reviews which we feel are an important learning activity.  Furthermore, course facilitators will be available via email and online video chat during the duration of the course to help with activities and answer questions.

The course is entirely free for those participating for their own personal benefit but is also available for formal graduate workshop credit through continuing education at the University of Northern Iowa (current fee $125).  This credit can be used for PD/license renewal credit in most US states.

If you are interested in being notified as we prepare for a formal offering of the course please complete this Google Form to register that interest.

For more information about this program contact Dr. Ben Schafer at or 319-273-2187.

The original development of this course was made possible through a 2014 CS4HS grant from Google.