There are two ways you can set up Challenge Galaxy
You can use it right inside Scratch by using our Chrome extension
Side-by-side: open Challenge Galaxy in one tab or device and Scratch in the other
Our Chrome extension lets you see the challenges right inside Scratch.
1. First, add the Challenge Galaxy extension to your Chrome browser. The button below will bring you to the Chrome Web Store.
2. Next, open Scratch. The button below will open it in a new browser window for you.
3. Click the Challenge Galaxy button in your browser toolbar to open the list of challenges and pick your challenge!
4. The challenge you choose will open right inside Scratch so you can build your project and look at the clues at the same time.
If you are not using Chrome and/or if your screen is wide enough, we recommend opening two windows side-by-side like this:
If you're using a display that doesn't easily fit both windows, try opening Challenge Galaxy in one window and Scratch in another and switch back and forth as needed. Some people prefer switch between browser tabs and others prefer having different windows. Maybe you're more comfortable one way or the other?
Another way that can work really well if you have a tablet or a phone is to open Challenge Galaxy on your mobile device and use Scratch on your computer.
You can complete challenges with as many or as few clues as you like. The first part of a challenge always shows you what your goal is. If you want to, you can just start building. You can build your solution, and share it in the studio set up on Scratch for each challenge.
Each challenge is broken up in a number of steps. To open a step, click the step name.
Maybe the step picture is enough to get you back to coding. If not, you can open up clues. Click the "Give me a clue!"" button.
This is part of the clue. It might help you and you might not even open the clue up. If your still curious or wondering, open up the clue by clicking on it.
The last clue in a step is often locked. This usually means it has all the code you need to finish the step. You can open this up if you need to by clicking on the lock. You'll have to type the code you see backwards to open it.
Finished a project? Great! We'd love for you to share it in the Scratch studio that we've set up for each challenge.
We're still in the early iterations of Challenge Galaxy, and we're hoping to get feedback from other teachers who begin using it in their classrooms. Here are a few different ways Challenge Galaxy might be used in a classroom setting.
Some series of challenges, such as the "Scratch Basics" series, are focused on helping students build and understand a particular programming concept to achieve a particular effect. In our experience, it can be engaging to work through a number of just-focus-on-the-concept projects before setting students to work on more open-ended or curriculum-connected projects. Here is a short sample lesson plan based on the Teach an Elephant! challenge:
In a group at the front of the classroom, students view the "Goal" project for a Scratch Basic Challenge
The teacher asks students to articulate exactly what happens in the project, e.g.
The thought process mapped out in the Challenge clues can be mirrored in the form of a group build of a solution to the challenge
Ask students to help as they assemble the script for the elephant (or bring students up to do it if you have a SmartBoard or if students can use the computer being displayed
Students are assigned to make their own version with the following directions
A few students can share their project. Class members can offer questions and comments, using the prompts below if needed.
Challenges can be used as references or teaching objects that we can point students to when they have particular question that might be holding up their progress. For example, a student who already has learned how to control a sprite with the arrow keys might be interested in adding an animation. The teacher could ask them to work through the Walking Animation Challenge as a way to get help independently. This is a good place to note that the Walking Animation challenge doesn't teach you the whole process of incorporating key-input based movement with animation, but it does give the student something to work with independently, and a secondary challenge which is integrating it with their existing work.
Sometimes the focus of the work is on curriculum content that is separate from learning Scratch and programming. For example, a classroom teacher may assign students to complete a Scratch project to illustrate content they have learned in a science or history unit. It can be useful to have a reference and teaching object that students can use to help with the Scratch part. For example, the Label It! challenge provides a consistent way to learn to build an interactive illustration. It could be helpful for a wide variety of projects.
Broadly, we're hoping to demonstrate that Challenge Galaxy aligns with the ISTE Standards for Students. In particular:
Students develop and employ strategies for understanding and solving problems in ways that leverage the power of technological methods to develop and test solutions.
Challenges are structured so that students are encouraged to understand first the end goal, and then discover ways to make the end goal happen with the technological methods of computer programming.
In more detail, we're mapping out the connections between solutions to challenges and concepts and competencies in the CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards, the Massachusetts Digital Literacy & Computer Science (DLCS) Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards.See the Standards Alignment