Getting Started with Scratch on the Raspberry Pi

In this guide, we will be teaching you the basics of how to use Scratch on the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Scratch

Scratch is an easy to use block-based visual programming software that can run on a Raspberry Pi.

Using this tool, you will be able to create your very own animations, games, and more using a straightforward drag-and-drop interface.

The Scratch software is a great way to get young people started with programming and develop a general interest in computing.

In this tutorial, we will be showing you how to install Scratch to your Raspberry Pi. We will also show you how to get started using the software.

Please note that you must be running a version of Raspbian that contains the desktop interface.

Equipment List

Below is some of the equipment that you will need to make use of the Scratch software on your Raspberry Pi.

Recommended

Raspberry Pi

Micro SD Card

Power Supply

Ethernet Cord or WiFi dongle (The Pi 3 and 4 has WiFi inbuilt)

Optional

Raspberry Pi Case

We tested this tutorial on using Scratch with a Raspberry Pi 4 running the Raspbian Buster operating system.

Installing Scratch to the Raspberry Pi

In this section, we will be showing you how to install Scratch on your Raspberry Pi. If you are running Raspbian Desktop with the recommended software installed you can skip this section as the Scratch software, comes pre-installed.

1. Our first task before we install Scratch on our Raspberry Pi is to update the operating system.

We can upgrade all existing packages by running the following two commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

2. Now to install Scratch, we need to run the following command.

This installation process is made simple thanks to Scratch being available through the Raspbian repository.

sudo apt install scratch

Once the download has finished, you can now move on to finding out how to open Scratch on your Raspberry Pi.

How to Open Scratch on the Raspberry Pi

In this section, we will be showing you how to open the Scratch software on your Raspberry Pi.

1. To find Scratch, first, click the Raspberry icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen to open the start menu.

Finding Scratch on the Raspberry Pi Desktop

2. Within the start menu, hover over the “Programming” option (1.).

Within the drop-down menu that this opens, click the “Scratch” option (2.).

Finding Scratch on the Raspberry Pi Desktop Menu

3. You should now have Scratch opened on your Pi.

You can immediately begin to play around with the software. However, we will go over some of its features in the next section.

Scratch Opened on the Raspberry Pi

Making Scratch the Cat Move

The default cat sprite is called Scratch, the same name as the application. In this section, we are going to show you the basics of how to make the cat move.

1. Within Scratch, we need to make sure we are modifying the script for Scratch the cat.

To do this, all you need to do is click Scratch the cat within the interface. It will be called “Sprite1” in the interface as its the first sprite created.

Scratch Clicking Scratch the Cat

2. Next, we want to add a control event to a script. The control events are something that we can use to trigger a sub-event such as moving our sprite.

To find the control blocks, you need to clickControl” in the sidebar (1.).

You should now see a list of the possible control events, drag over the “When green flag clicked” block over into the “Scripts” panel (2.).

Drag When Green Flag Clicked to Scripts

3. As we want to make a sprite move, we need to open up the motion scripts. Go ahead and click the “Motion” option (1.) in the sidebar.

With all the motion scripts now available, go ahead and drag the “Move 10 steps” block under the “When green flag clicked” (2.).

Once you have dragged the block over, you can test that this works by clicking the green flag (3.).

Make scratch the cat move

At this point, you should now have an idea of how to use Scratch on your Raspberry Pi.

There are still plenty more that you can learn about Scratch. The official Scratch website is a fantastic resource for learning how to use the software as well as explore projects created by others.

If you have found any issues with our guide on Scratch, feel free to leave a comment below.

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