Scratch 101: Space Slideshow

by 12:22 PM
Hello and welcome to Scratch 101! In this tutorial we will be learning to create a slideshow in multiple ways with different levels of abstraction.  

Learn how to create a slideshow. Key topics include loops, conditionals, and input devices. 

Final Project:
Space Slideshow! Example Image/Preview:
Source: https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/space/milky-way/#milky-way-2.jpg
Graphical Setup:
The graphical template is located here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/253424201/
Lesson Notes:
Notice that their are two ways to create the slideshow effect. The first script checks at regular intervals to see if their was a key press as opposed to the second script which is more abstract and knows exactly when the space bar was pressed. If you are unfamiliar with abstraction, then make sure to check out this tutorial.


  • Change the number of seconds in the wait block. What happens? 
  • What happens if both scripts are present in your program at the same time?
  • Add program documentation (comments) explaining the purpose of each segment of code. 
  • Research the 2D Cartesian System and how Scratch utilizes this for the stage feature. 

Scratch 101: Turbo Mode

by 3:29 PM

Welcome to this Scratch 101 Lesson about the "Turbo Mode" feature and how to evaluate its effectiveness. 

What is Turbo Mode?

In Turbo Mode, all scripts run to their maximum potential (as quickly as they can) based on a number of factors related to your processor and other aspects of hardware. This can help increase the rate at which your computer performs calculations, yet it can also degrade the performance of projects which rely heavily on built-in graphics components because of the increased memory requirements. 

Enabling Turbo Mode:

To use Turbo Mode you must hold down shift and click the green flag. If done successfully you should see the words “Turbo Mode” in orange text to the left of the green flag as shown in the image below.

Project Template: 

A pre-made template can be found here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/236419105/

Our Project:

We will evaluate the effectiveness of Turbo Mode by testing how quickly it can repeat a "blank" command (i.e. the call has no purpose or output which affects our program). If it runs in under 1/10 of a second, our "Turbo" variable will be set to "true" to indicate that our program is running at our desired speed. Otherwise it will be set to false.


1.) “When Green Flag Clicked Block” - This is our event handler and connects the rest of our program with the green flag found in the player.

2.) “Reset Timer Block" - A built in command call which resets the timer in the player.

3.) "Useless Code Sequence" - An iterative loop which runs a blank call ten times to waste some runtime. How quickly the program in "turbo mode" can get through this will help evaluate its effectiveness.

4.) "The Final Test" - If the program runs longer than 0.1 seconds then turbo mode is off (based on the expectation that "turbo mode" in effective) and it will set the variable to false and if it the program runs faster than 0.1 seconds then turbo mode is on (we presume) and then the variable will be set to true.

Method-Based Hierarchy:

We can also separate the turbo mode test from the original event handler to build a method which can be integrated into other programs quite easily. Projects which require a faster rate of calculation will usually integrate this test to ensure that the user has turbo-mode on to ensure a better experience. Methods are easier to integrate because they streamline the code and separate out the different "functions (purposes)". 

Completed Projects:

Completed Project (No Method): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/236419745/

Completed Project (with Method): https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/236419587/

This post was in part contributed by jakel181 with heavy revisions. 

Classics Videos

by 9:53 AM
Source: Met Museum of Art. Imperial Augustan Era.
The study of classics is one which combines language, history and cultural study into one field. Each civilization has their own traditions, and thereby their own “classics.” In the East some may point to the Confucian classics or other ancient texts, while in Western Civilization many will point to Ancient Greek and Latin texts.

It is these civilizations which will be at the forefront of a new project: MakeTheBrainHappy – Classical Studies. The reasoning for this project is the same as all other resources on these pages: to distribute information in a free, compact, and helpful manner. There are certainly many other resources for some specific ideas, but this project intends to combine the study of language, culture and history into one place. This is why it has been given the title of “Classical Studies”.

Instead of regular static text pages, videos with illustrative visuals have been created. All information and image content are sourced using URL links. Some topics will be familiar fables while others are obscure events. 90%+ of the videos are under five minutes. This format will continue for the foreseeable future.

Topics for the channel at the present time include the Latin Language, Roman History, Roman Culture, Ancient Greek History, Ancient Greek Culture, and Ancient Geography. The amount of content likewise will continue to grow as more videos are created.

            Some of the information is organized in YouTube Playlists, but these are sometimes inadequate when a viewer seeks information about the individual videos. Therefore a “classics” page has been created which organizes the information in a logical manner.

            Thank you for your continued support of these endeavors!

Animating a GIF in Scratch + Adding Program Documentation

by 6:27 AM
Hello and welcome to Scratch 101! In this tutorial we will be learning how to animate a Gif in Scratch & add program documentation. 

Learning how to add program documentation. 

Final Project:

Graphical Setup:
The graphical template is located here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/220142226/

Common Mistakes:
  • Filling in the numbers correctly (0.09 vs .009)

Documentation Step:

Next right click on the "when green flag clicked" block and press add comment. Explain in your own words what this script is doing. 

The completed version can be found here

Scratch 101: Monte Carlo Simulation

by 10:33 AM
Hello and welcome to Scratch 101! In this tutorial we will be learning how to use the Monte Carlo Simulation by using randomness to find the area of a 2D circle. 

Learning about geometric figures in Scratch, Operators, Data and Randomness. 

Final Project:

Graphical Setup:
The graphical template is located here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/214097089/

Common Mistakes:
  • Filling in the numbers correctly. 
  • Make sure to have the correct order of operations (which you define by where you place the operators)
  • Make sure not to confuse positive and negative numbers
  • pen up vs. pen down. 

The completed version can be found here

Scratch 101: If I Designed Monopoly...

by 7:13 AM

Hello and welcome to Scratch 101! In this tutorial we will be learning to use the graphic paint editor (vector mode) by developing our own monopoly sprites. 

To learn how to use the paint editor effectively. 

Final Project:
Your student-made Monopoly cards! :)

Graphical Setup:
The graphical template is located here: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/212983212/

Activity 1 (Editing the Title):
Highlight the "text" symbol and click on the "Title Deed" statement. 
Activity 2 (Adding a Description):
Highlight the "text" symbol and click on an area where you wish to add the description. Click somewhere outside the text box to change the size of the text box. 
Activity 3 (Adding an Image)
Find an image which you would like to add to the card and download it to the computer. Use the "important button" to bring the file into your editor. Work around with the dimensions to finish the card.
Once you are finished with the activities you may:
  • Create another card
  • Create a script to randomly generate cards when you hit the space key. 
  • Add more features, images, or options to your card
  • Create another project with "custom sprites" (self-made) using the "Create a story" tutorial scripts available in the tutorial bar (you can see how to access that below). 

The Lewis Dot Structure for NH4+

by 7:32 AM
Created by MakeTheBrainHappy
The Lewis Dot Structure for NH4+ (Ammonium) is shown above. These kinds of structures can also be shown by representing each of the bonds with two dots. Each atom in the bond has a full valence shell, with nitrogen having access to eight electrons and each hydrogen having access to two (this is why hydrogen only needs two). The covalent bonds between the N and the H are similar to the ones formed between two Hs because the relatively small difference in electronegativity between carbon and hydrogen. The whole structure is a cation due to the fact that Nitrogen is missing an electron. Neutral Nitrogen atoms have five valence electrons which are a part of the original structure, while this central atom has four. Therefore it has a +1 charge.

Ammonium is a tetrahedron structure in 3D space similar to methaneSource
The positively charged cation allows ammonium to act as a weak acid and occasionally revert to its original form (NH3 = Ammonia). NH4+ takes up a tetrahedral shape (as shown above) due to the fact that there are no lone pairs on the central atom. It is an important source of nitrogen for certain types of plant species.


Ammonium is known for forming different kinds of salts which would be classified as ionic compounds. In the image above, there are two salts shown which involve the ammonium ion. These are Ammonium carbonate and Ammonium sulphate. 

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