PBS KIDS and Scratch Jr logos

Story Mash-up

Create a mash-up with PBS KIDS characters

Overview

What would it be like if characters from different PBS KIDS shows met each other? In this activity, children will create a mash-up project where their favorite characters from different shows hang out with each other.

Learning Goals

Children will learn how to create projects, add characters, and how to use the programming blocks to make their characters animate and move on screen. They will explore coding and computational thinking practices as they utilize technology as a tool for creativity, expression and learning with the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app.

Keywords

  • Programming/Coding
  • Sequence/Algorithm
  • Mash-up
  • Beginning
  • Middle
  • End


    Materials

    • iPads or Android tablets for each child (or group of children) 
    • TV, projector, computer, or another device to display media
    • A document camera to display tablet work to the whole group or a cable to connect the tablet and projector
    • Chalkboard, whiteboard, or poster paper
    • Storyboarding Assets
    • Design Handouts
    • Parent Handout (English | Spanish)

    Getting Started (5 minutes)

    The context in which you are engaging in this activity will impact how you get started. Take the time to set-up cues, preview what you’re going to be doing and why, and to get the kids ready and focused for a fun and creative PBS KIDS challenge.

    Today children will be combining characters from different PBS KIDS shows to make their own mash-up projects using PBS KIDS ScratchJr. Define what a mash-up is, and ask each child which PBS KIDS characters they would most like to mash-up into a single project.

    Explore (15 minutes)

    Use a projector to model the features outlined below that will help the group with their projects. Additionally give them some free time to openly explore the app. See the PEG + CAT – Tree Problem Activity to learn how to add characters and backgrounds and how to use the Motion blocks.

    Watch (10 minutes)

    Select at least two short clips from the PBS KIDS Video Player that feature characters within the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app (WILD KRATTS, ODD SQUAD, NATURE CAT, WORDGIRL, ARTHUR, PEG+CAT, and READY JET GO!). After each clip ask the group what would happen if a character from a different show had also appeared in the clip. Would that be fun? How might a character from a different show change what happened in the clip?

    Plan (10 minutes)

    Provide the group with the design handouts and the storyboarding assets and encourage them to use both to plan their mash-ups. They can write, draw, and/or can use the cutouts to act out their plans. Encourage everyone to think about the following:

    • Who - Which characters are going to be in your mash-up?
    • Where - Where does your mash-up take place? Is it at Arthur's school? Inside the Kratt brothers' Tortuga?
    • What - What happens in your mash-up? What are the characters doing together?

    Additionally, encourage everyone to include a beginning, middle, and end in their mash-ups. Make sure to define these terms, and to provide an example or two. 

    Create (30 minutes)

    Using the paper plans as a jumping off point, and encourage everyone to transfer their ideas to the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app as they create their own mash-up projects. 

    The Challenge

    Challenge everyone to create mash-up story projects that incorporate characters from multiple PBS KIDS shows. Each project should consider the following:

    • Who - Which characters are going to be 'mashed-up' into the same project?
    • Where - Where does the mash-up take place? Is it at Arthur's school? Inside the Kratt brothers' Tortuga?
    • What - What happens in the mash-up? What are the characters doing together?

    Encourage everyone to utilize multiple pages and to give their mash-up a beginning, middle, and end. Also, encourage children to use the Say block or Record Sound blocks to create conversations between characters. 

    Make sure everyone has a tablet and make yourself available to lend support as everyone works on their projects. Encourage children to turn to each other for support and inspiration.

    Make it Simpler

    Have children focus on creating a single page mash-up where characters meet and something silly/funny/exciting happens to them. 

    Make it More Challenging

    Encourage children to put themselves in the story! Show everyone the camera feature in the paint editor and show them how they can create or edit a character to include their own faces in their projects. 

    Share (15 Minutes)

    Have children pair up and share their projects with one another. Model and encourage the giving and receiving of both warm and cool feedback. Also, encourage children to share and discuss the following: 

    • How did you decide on which characters to add to your project and their actions?
    • Who else would it be fun to add to your mash-up?
    • What was the most challenging part of making your project? The most fun?
    • Did you 'test and improve' or redesign any parts of your project?

    Keep Going (10 minutes)

    If you have extra time give children the chance to work on whatever they would like. If they received useful feedback, were inspired by other projects, or want to attempt one of the extensions below, this is a wonderful opportunity to do just that. Or they can start a whole new project and can create whatever they would like.

    Take Home

    Send children home with this Parent Handout (English | Spanish) to help encourage discussion and continued play at home!

    For more videos and games featuring PBS KIDS Characters 

    Visit the PBS KIDS website