My 20th Century Decade in Scratch (LS-EU-120)

This learning scenario has been created by Tapani Saarinen, Ph.D., European School Brussels. The lesson was designed for students from 10 to 16 years old.

Project Overview

The task of this learning scenario is to let students discover the resources of Europeana, and find from the Europeana Collection a topic of student’s own interest from a decade of the 20th century. Students should choose pictures related to it from the Europeana Collection, search for the background information about the topic presented in the pictures, and finally present these in a form of an interactive webpage, coded with Scratch.

The interactive webpage will thus use multimedia (pictures, text, audio, etc.) to present a decade from the 20th century. Each student chooses various areas of his/her interest (art, fashion, music, newspapers, photography, sports, politics, etc.) in order to show the characteristics of the decade.

Learning goals

The learning scenario’s goals are to:

  1. deepen understanding of the 20th-century history, previously studied during the semester, with the Europeana material.
  2. broaden understanding of one’s own interests related to 20th history through the use of Europeana Collections
  3. be able to code a workable interactive webpage to present the material.

Choosing a Decade and Area of Interest

Student can choose a decade from the 20th century, or the 20th century may be divided in another way, for example, 1900-1914, 1914-1918, 1918-1930, 1930-1939, 1939-1945, etc.

Students may choose 2-4 areas of interest, and focus on their special characteristics on a particular decade (art, fashion, music, newspapers, photography, sports, politics, etc.). These areas should be presented with pictures, text, audio explaining their special characteristics, background, information related to them, etc. General context – both political and cultural – should be highlighted. The idea of bringing various areas together is to make connections between different areas and expressions of culture in time.

It is also possible to focus on the change of one or two areas of interest during various decades (art, fashion, music, newspapers, photography, sports, politics, etc.). In this model, special focus should be given to the persons which have been essential for the change (persons, ideas, institutions, etc.) and opposing forces contradicting the change.

It is also possible to choose only one topic and present it following the instructions above. These options may be seen as a form of differentiation.

Making an Interactive Webpage

Learning process in this project includes three steps:

  1. Becoming familiar with the general context of the decade each student chooses. This is done using general historical accounts.
  2. Becoming familiar with the material provided by Europeana Collections.
  3. Coding the interactive, multimedia webpage with the Scratch (

Scratch project will include a brief introductory animation, which will explain the project and present the chosen decade. Therefore, the goal of the project should be presented clearly.

After introductory animation, there should be an interactive webpage which shows the selected areas of interest. By clicking any of these areas, there should be a new page opening, presenting items such as pictures, text, audio; all related to the topic.

Students can use creative knowledge of coding in making this project, and also other possibilities are allowed.

Process and results

Students began by exploring the Europeana Collections and finding topics of interest. Based on these materials, they proceeded to search for more information and then brought these together in the form of a webpage.

In the beginning, there was an aim to focus not only with a particular topic but also a particular decade of the 20th century. However, it became soon evident that the focus on a particular decade would not be feasible. The project, therefore, took the topic approach (limiting to only one topic in one webpage), which proved to be a good one.

Scratch pages created by students about 20th century topics
Overview of the webpages created by students

Here are some of the examples of the projects. They will speak of themselves.

For more projects, search with the keyword Europeana.


It was an interesting opportunity to learn about the Europeana Collections. Above all, the project reminded that it is essential to tap into the access of all the knowledge, made possible by the Internet, students having phones and computers. In the case of the Internet in general and Europeana Collections in particular, it is essential to build skills of searching for the information.

The project produced good results.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:

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CC BY-SA 3.0 NL – The featured image used to illustrate this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution. It can be found on the Stadsarchief ‘s-Hertogenbosch website. The original image has been resized and labelled to illustrate this article.

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