Using the Barefoot Scratch Resources

Introduction to Scratch

Scratch is a free programming language first developed in 2003 by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) led by Mitch Resnick. Taking inspiration from Lego and other construction toys, Scratch is a visual-based language, meaning programs are built up visually by dragging together command blocks available from the range of commands in Scratch’s library.

There are currently two versions of Scratch: Scratch 1.4 and Scratch 2. The latest version, Scratch 2, has some additional features over Scratch 1.4, mainly the ability to create your own command blocks and use a camera attached to your computer as an input.

Scratch Programming Environments

The Scratch 1.4 and 2 programming environments.

Either or both versions of Scratch can be downloaded to run on a school’s network. Links to the download pages appear below:

Download Scratch 1.4

Download Scratch 2.0

File compatibility

Files created in Scratch 1.4 are given the extension .sb which are also compatible with Scratch 2. However files which are created in Scratch 2, which are given the extension .sb2 are not compatible with Scratch 1.4.

Scratch 2.0 online editor

You can use Scratch 2 online as well as being able to download and install it to a computer or computer network. Clicking on this link will take you to the Scratch homepage  where you click on ‘create’, shown below, to use Scratch 2 online.

A screen grab of the Scratch 2 online editor

The Scratch homepage at By clicking create you can use the Scratch 2 online editor.
This will open with a ‘Getting started with Scratch guide’.

When using the online editor you can:

  • Create new projects.
  • Upload a Scratch project from your computer (this can be a project created in either Scratch 1.4 or Scratch 2).
  • Download your project to your computer (these will be downloaded as Scratch 2 files).
  • If you have registered and logged in to Scratch (see note about creating pupils accounts below) you can save your projects online.

You are also able to remix other people’s Scratch projects online if they have made them available. This is explained further in the ‘How to use the Barefoot Scratch resources’ section below.

Creating online Scratch accounts for pupils

An email address is required to create an online Scratch account, which can make it difficult to create accounts for individual pupils. As such, the team at MIT are happy for schools to create multiple accounts in the school name and share these with pupils.

Introductory videos

The following two videos have been created as an introduction to the Scratch 1.4 and 2 programming environments. They explain each aspect of the programming environment and show how a simple program can be constructed and run.

Introduction to Scratch 1.4

Introduction to Scratch 2

How to use the Barefoot Scratch resources

Each Barefoot activity which uses Scratch provides for both versions of Scratch. There are two ways in which the Barefoot Scratch resources may be used. The following explains how pupils would access, use and save the Scratch files using the two methods.

1. Downloading the Scratch files to a school network (This is the method we anticipate most schools to use)

Scratch files for each activity can be downloaded from the web site and saved to a location on your school network which pupils can access. Please remember that Scratch 1.4 files can be used with Scratch 2, but Scratch 2 files can not be used with Scratch 1.4, therefore check which file to download from the activity depending on what version of Scratch you have installed.

Opening a Scratch file once saved on your school network is shown below.

A screen grab showing how to open a scratch project

Select ‘File’ then ‘Open’ (Left image Scratch 1.4 and right image Scratch 2)
then navigate to the location the file has been saved and select it to open.

If using this method, once pupils have opened the file they should save their own copy to an appropriate area on the school network with an appropriate file name, e.g. adding their initials to the file name.

A screen grab showing how to saving a Scratch project

Selecting ‘File’ then ‘Save as’ in Scratch 1.4 (left) and 2 (right) to save a copy of the project.

2. Using the Scratch 2 online editor

Activities also include links to the resource within the Barefoot Computing Scratch account. By following these links and selecting the ‘See inside’ button you will be able to use the Scratch online editor to work on the resource, as shown below.

A screen grab showing how to edit a project in Scratch

Clicking on a project file link on an activity resource will take you to the Barefoot Computing Scratch account where the project is saved.
Clicking on ‘See inside’ will open the Scratch 2 online editor and allow you to edit the project.

However please note that unless you have signed in with an account for Scratch and select to ‘remix’ the project you will not be able to save any changes you make. Pupils can however download a version of the project with any changes they have made by selecting ‘File’ and ‘Download to your computer’ as shown below. Files are downloaded as Scratch 2 files.

A screen grab showing how to save from Scratch online

Pupils can download a copy of the project they are working on in the Scratch 2 online editor.