Help rescue PEG + CAT from a tree
Peg and Cat have a really big problem! Cat is stuck in a tree. Again! In this activity, children will be challenged to create projects with the PBS KIDS ScratchJr app where they help Peg rescue her friend Cat
Children will learn how to create projects, add characters, and how to use the programming blocks to make their characters animate 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.
- Horizontal and Vertical
- Left and Right
- iPads or Android tablets for each child (or group of children)
- The PEG + CAT "Yet Another Tree Problem," 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
- Design Handouts
- Parent Handout (English | Spanish)
Meet (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 get the kids ready and focused for a creative PBS KIDS challenge.
Peg and Cat are best friends who love to have fun, go on adventures, and solve problems using math. Today, everyone is going to create PBS KIDS ScratchJr projects to help Peg and Cat solve a really big problem. Cat is stuck in a tree and Peg needs help getting him down! Children will learn how create projects and how to use the Motion blocks to help Peg reach Cat so she can rescue him.
Play (10 minutes)
Play ‘Simon Says’ with the group. As much as possible incorporate spatial vocabulary into the game; up, down, next to, below, above, right, and left. Simon Says is a game that aligns really nicely with computational thinking. In the game, if ‘Simon Says,’ to do something, then everyone does that thing, but if Simon doesn’t say, then participants do nothing. Characters in PBS KIDS ScratchJr behave in the same way; they need to be triggered before they will begin their animations.
Explore (20 minutes)
Project your tablet onto a big screen with a document camera or with a cable, open PBS KIDS ScratchJr, and start a new project. First, talk about programs and coding. Then model how to create programs for your characters using Motion and Trigger blocks.
Show everyone how to add characters and how to create programs by dragging blocks into the programming area, snapping them together, and testing them. Then give everyone at least 5 minutes to explore and make discoveries on their own. Invite children to share their fun discoveries informally with each other and with the whole group.
Watch (15 minutes)
View the 11-minute PEG + CAT episode, "Yet Another Tree Problem," and have the group pay attention to what Peg, Cat, and Ramone do to solve their tree problem. After the episode:
- Review and discuss the spatial feedback introduced during the episode.
- Review and discuss what the characters did to solve their really big problem.
Create (30 minutes)
Now it's time for everyone to use their knowledge of Motion blocks and spatial awareness to help Peg and Cat solve their really big problem. Make sure everyone has a tablet to work on and make yourself available to lend support as everyone works on their projects. Write the basic parameters of the project at the front of the room to help guide everyone’s work.
- Encourage everyone to add Peg, Cat, and a tree character to their projects.
- Encourage everyone to place Cat or Peg in the tree and the other character somewhere else on the screen. Cat is now stuck in the tree!
- Challenge the group to use their powers of spatial awareness and the Motion blocks to create programs that move Peg to Cat so she can rescue him (or vice versa).
Share (15 Minutes)
Ask for volunteers to share their projects with the group. Have them share their projects and more specifically, which blocks they used to help Peg save Cat. Model giving warm and cool feedback and encourage the same from the children.
Keep Going (15 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.