I Know an Old Lady– with 10 blocks

10 Blocks Scratch Activity

Today for the Creative Computing Online Workshop  I tackled the 10 Block Challenge.  This is a constrained coding activity where you can only use the 10 blocks pictured above.  I went waaay overboard on time and scope on this one.  I recorded an acoustic version of  The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,  then animated the story using Scratch.   Once again, I found my images on the wonderful OpenClipart.org repository of PD and CreativeCommons clipart.  Click on the green flag to begin then on any of the characters to see what happens. If you want to look at the code, you can view it on My Scratch Page,

The main animation and interaction of the program uses just 10 blocks, but the characters need to be manually reset to the beginning each time, so I cheated and added a ‘when green flag clicked’ block to each sprite to give it the starting position and size.  This is a pretty standard way to start a SCRATCH program so I think I just bent the rules not totally broke them.  

It was challenging but also liberating to work with the constraint of only 10 blocks.  Also the script for each character is very similar, but I tried to give them each their kinds of movement to give them a bit of personality.

With the blocks we were given I know the animation is very crude and flat.  I worked with this constraint and thought of it almost like working with paper cutouts– the characters stay oriented exactly the same and do not change, so I made it a feature of the look.

As with any coding it took a lot more time than I expected, and I had a couple of hiccups.  I initially had it set up so that when you clicked on each character, the verse for that character would play, but the scripts would not start to move the character until the music stopped.  It seems that the only place you can put continuous background music is on the background.

2 thoughts on “I Know an Old Lady– with 10 blocks

  1. Lucy

    Hi Sean!
    I was watching the second “Office Hours” webinar as part of the Creative Computing Online Workshop and saw this blog post featured. Karen was correct, it is an adorable and very clever project. I also love the way you are able to embed your Scratch projects. So lovely being able to view the projects from within your blog. I have no idea how you’ve done it but might do some “digging” to see what clever html you’ve used? 🙂
    Many thanks for sharing your fabulous work.

    1. mrmcgaughey Post author

      Thanks Lucy. It’s easy to add scratch projects to other websites and blogs. On the Scratch Project page there is a “Share To” button. It will give you an embed code that you can copy and paste into your website or blog.


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