Generating Art: Creating a Shape Calculator in Scratch

Workshop Categories: Algorithms & Programming
Subjects: Maths Art
Key Stages: KS2 KS3


Helping students understand the importance and relevance of calculating the internal angles of shapes is something that can become a challenge to deliver. This project aims to address that whilst teaching computational thinking concepts i.e. problem solving. The Digital Schoolhouse has worked with the Langley Grammar School Maths and IT/Computing departments to ensure that the project meets the curriculum needs of KS2 teachers but also gives pupils the opportunity to experience teaching techniques used at KS3.

The workshop begins with a series of unplugged activities to help remind students of their prior learning around drawing shapes and then introduces the concept of algorithms as a way to give step-by-step instructions for drawing different shapes. Then, in the plugged-in section of the workshop, the computing concepts of 'constants' and 'variables' with inputs and the pen up/pen down tool are then introduced to draw the shapes in scratch

If you have any questions about the workshop, please get in touch with the team:

Guidance for teachers

Suitable for: Key stage 2 (KS2), key stage 3 (KS3)

Our resources are created with you and your students in mind. Not only are they outside-the-box, creative and brain-boosting fun, but we always ensure our content stays relevant. Our network of academic masterminds and video games practitioners enable us to keep delivering free content that is aligned to the UK computing curriculum and that is relevant to current industry best practice. We think you're going to love our play-based approach to Computer Science. We've even got the evidence to prove it. 

Download your lesson resources at the bottom of the page. If you're a Lead Teacher of a certified Schoolhouse, you can access the adaptable resources by logging in.

Guidance for parents & carers

Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of the Shape Calculator follow-along workshops below. Please note, these are live recordings. Sit back, relax and supervise or participate as a family.

Part 1 - no technology required!

Suitable for ages: 5-11 years. Find out what an algorithm is and why instructions need to be precise. Then learn about how to write an algorithm using a flowchart.

What do you need to take part?

  • Pen
  • Pencil
  • Paper

What do you learn?

  • The importance of correct instructions
  • What an algorithm is
  • How to represent an algorithm using a flowchart
  • How to evaluate the effectiveness of an algorithm
  • How to use selection and loops within your algorithm
  • How to dry run/test your algorithm to see if it works and achieves desired results 

Part 2

Suitable for ages: 7-11 years.  Following Part 1, learn how to create a program that can draw different shapes using Scratch. 

What do you need to take part?

  • PC or laptop
  • Access to the internet and web browser e.g. Google Chrome
  • Scratch - a free programming language which you can access via your browser here

What do you learn?

  • How to use input and variables within a program 
  • How to use sequence and selection in a program 
  • How to use the pen tool within Scratch


Generating Art: Creating a Shape Calculator in Scratch Workshop Pack

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Generating Art - Shape Calculator