I love having my students do this activity when I first introduce Scratch. Their project are always so much better then mine! Even if they follow the suggestions in the tutorial they are all so different.
Projects are awesome, and I love having students work on project as part of the learning they are doing in my class. I do not like project completed at home. Too often teachers (and I have been guilty of this in the past) teach skills in class and then send students home to complete a project and expect those skills to be used in the project. We don’t know how much or how little help students are receiving at home. We don’t know their home responsibilities or limitations.
I know from personal experiences that I retain the skills I learn when I need to learn them, but forget the ones learned in isolation.
Once I took a technology workshop (Microsoft applications) as a week long course. It was excel overload, and I never applied my learning to anything meaningful to me. Two years later when I wanted to make a spread sheet to calculate something specific related to my students’ data, I had could not remember the “steps” I had been taught. Conversely, I am going though my National Board Renewal now. I am learning how to upload videos, compress files, etc. because those skills are important to the project I am doing!
Remembering to incorporate rationales into all skills taught and employing the backward design model of instruction are a good compromises for teachers who need to see specific skills exemplified in student projects to justify the class time required to complete project.