PBS KIDS and Scratch Jr logos

Creature Powers

Animate animal traits with the WILD KRATTS

Overview

Activate Creature Powers! Inspired by the WILD KRATTS, in this activity children will be challenged to create PBS KIDS ScratchJr projects that explore different animals and their unique behaviors and traits.

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
  • Unique
  • Traits
  • Habitat

Materials

  • iPads or Android tablets for each child (or group of children) 
  • The WILD KRATTS ‘Creature Power Challenge,’ episode (see below)
  • TV, projector, computer, or other device to play the episode
  • 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
  • PBS KIDS ScratchJr Simon Says Cards
  • 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 everyone will be making their own programs using PBS KIDS ScratchJr that are inspired by WILD KRATTS. Children will choose an animal and will create a project that shows off that animal’s Creature Powers.

Ask a focusing question and have each child answer: What is your favorite wild animal?

Play (10 minutes)

Have the group stand up to play a game of PBS KIDS ScratchJr Simon Says. Instead of giving verbal commands, print and utilize the PowerPoint presentation going slide by slide. The presence of a Start on Green Flag Trigger block on a slide is the same as if a facilitator were to say “Simon Says…” If that block is present, then the children should complete the action. If that block is not present, then Simon didn't say and the children should do nothing.   

Before playing make sure you establish specific actions for each of the Motion and Looks blocks that are used in the game; Up, Down, Left, Right, Hop, Grow, and Shrink.

This game is a great way to extend the fun of Simon Says while giving kids the opportunity to physicalize and embody some of the core programming concepts embedded within PBS KIDS ScratchJr as well as the functionality of the blocks. Programs in the app are a lot like Simon Says; they all need a yellow Trigger Block (the equivalent of saying “Simon Says…”) to make them go.

Explore (20 minutes)

Model and have the group follow along as you explore how to use the Hide, Show, Grow, Shrink, and Speed blocks inside PBS KIDS ScratchJr by dragging each of them into the programming area and discovering what they do. Make sure you also utilize the Start on Green Flag block to continue to reinforce the need to set-up triggers for your programs. Additionally showcase the functionality of the blue Motion blocks. See the PEG + CAT – Tree Problem Activity to learn how to add characters and backgrounds and how to use the Motion blocks.

Additionally, make sure you give children some free time to openly explore the app on their own. Give children opportunities to share any new and exciting discoveries with the group. Keep your tablet connected to the projector so that you can continue to provide support.

Watch (15 minutes)

Ask the children to define habitat and unique. View the 15-minute first part of the WILD KRATTS episode, 'Creature Power Challenge,' and ask the group to focus on the animals in the episode, the habitat they live in, and the  Creature Powers that make those animals unique and special. After the episode, discuss the animals from the episode and the unique Creature Powers that help them each thrive in their habitats. 

Create (30 minutes)

Have everyone choose an animal that they would like to use for their project. They can choose one of the WILD KRATTS animals, any of the other animals in the app, or they can draw their own with the Paint Editor.  

The Challenge

Challenge everyone to use all of the new blocks introduced + the Motion blocks to create programs that show-off their animal’s creature powers.

  • Is their animal really big and that’s what protects it from other animals? Encourage using the Grow block.
  • Is their animal really fast and that’s how it hunts? Or how it escapes being hunted? Encourage using the Speed block.
  • Does the animal camouflage into its environment to hide and show itself only when it’s safe? Encourage playing with the Hide and Show blocks.
  • Also make sure they add a background to their projects the shows off their animal's habitat.

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

Make it Simpler

Have children focus exclusively on the Motion and Trigger blocks to make their animal move around the screen.

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: 

  • What are your animal’s unique traits?
  • How do those traits help your animal survive in their habitat?

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 the Kratts  
Visit the WILD KRATTS website