If you are interested in having a CaTaPuLT Club at your site, the following information is for you!
For the past few years, UW-Madison students in Computer Science have been teaching local kids about computational thinking and programming in Scratch. The CS clubs are held weekly either afterschool or on the weekends and are currently focused on 4th and 5th graders. The CS students who lead the weekly clubs are all enrolled in a CS service-learning course in which they acquire the necessary skills for presenting material at the appropriate level.
For planning, we usually decide on the sites where we can run a club at least one semester ahead of time. The clubs run for about 12 weeks; in the Fall, from approximately the 4th week of September to the 2nd week of December; in the Spring, from the 2nd week of February to the 2nd week of May (with classes off during both UW and MMSD Spring Break). We have found that clubs held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays immediately after-school (e.g., from 3:30 – 4:30) fit best with UW and MMSD schedules.
We do not charge a fee for the clubs.
Sites that are interested in collaborating with us must be able to provide the following:
- A contact representative from your school to help handle administrative details (e.g., a member of the PTO or a teacher)
- An enrollment of 8 to 16 4th and 5th graders who are committed to attending the club (most) every week. Children who are repeatedly disruptive in the club will not be able to remain in our program. Different children can be enrolled each semester. We can accommodate both beginners and returning students. If you have more than 16 students interested in the club, we prefer that priority be given to students in this order:
- who increase the diversity of your club
- who are new to Scratch
- who are in 5th grade
- who were on a waiting list from a previous semester
- Adult supervision of the club each week (e.g., a parent or teacher). The adult supervisor is responsible for taking attendance and ensuring that all children are picked up after the club. The adult should help the UW students with ill or disruptive children. The more the adult can help with classroom management, the better!
- Periodic feedback to the UW students about their performance.
- Computers (desktop or laptops) with Scratch; Scratch is free (from http://scratch.mit.edu) and on the approved list of software for MMSD
- A projector the UW students can use for showing Scratch lessons.
Marquette Elementary: “The UW students come with great smiles and fun ideas and lots of energy (needed to keep up with 4th and 5th graders). The kids love what they are creating and they love having college kids show it to them. This a great program. The only downside is having to turn away so many kids that want to try programming in Scratch because there just were not enough spots for them all.”
Thoreau Elementary: “Scratch Club is incredibly popular at our school. We have to hold a lottery each semester because we regularly receive over 25\% more student registrations than spaces available in Scratch Club. We appreciate UW’s commitment to the program and the talented UW students placed at Thoreau each semester.”
Muir Elementary: “The program is a wonderful example of outreach and community involvement for the UW students. It’s also a tangible way for students who may not have the opportunity (our school has a very diverse population) to learn about Computer Science and programming as a field and career. The fact that we have been able to offer this program at no cost to our students has been a true gift.”
Lowell Elementary: “Having Scratch at our school has been so beneficial! We have been able to have a class for students in our after school program as well as another club on Tuesday evenings for kids who are not in the after school program. We are able to teach computer skills outside of the regular day, offer a safe/supervised activity at our school, and create valuable connections and opportunities for the UW students.”
Madison Children’s Museum: “…the club at MCM has been extremely popular and has helped us bring more STEM programming to our visitors. … We are proud to be part of this fantastic project and it has been amazing to see it grow and change.”