The Scratch workspace looks like this:
Users write programs for their moving objects, called sprites, on a stage that can have any kind of background. The program comes with a wide variety of sprites, such as animals, letters and people; there are various categories of available backgrounds. My students created their own. They imported screenshots and photographs. They also used photo editing tools to create text sprites and their face using Photo Booth effects.
After I modeled the processes of writing programs by dragging in command bars, students wrote their programs. They moved their "face sprites" around the state. At each location, they gave information through the use of speech bubbles.
This is one of the programs written. Locations are given using coordinates on a grid.
As new places were studied, students created new sprites and edited the stage background.
I definitely plan on using Scratch next year as I refine my plans. I am currently planning a similar project for fourth-graders in which we will study the early history of the United States. Their tours will show the expansion of the country.
Scratch is easy to learn how to use. The website, scratch.mit.edu, gives examples, guides and tutorials. Users can also upload their creations to the gallery.