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The Powerpuff Girls are learning code.
As part of its collaboration with Scratch, a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, Cartoon Network is set to air two coding-themed episodes of The Powerpuff Girls, starting with the June 9 installment.
Scratch is a free, easy-to-use programming language and online community that encourages kids to create and share their own interactive stories, games and animation projects. The collaboration sees the Turner-owned network working with Scratch to provide coding activities for kids that feature Cartoon Network characters.
The Scratch website is intended to be “a space where kids can express themselves creatively through technology and collaborate with one another.” Kids can try out each other’s projects, give feedback and suggestions on other users’ projects, and remix and build on other projects.
Powerpuff Girls, premiering Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (watch an exclusive clip below), joins We Bare Bears as the second Cartoon Network property to be uploaded to the Scratch website that encourages children to create and share.
In “Viral Spiral,” the first of several computer science-themed episodes of The Powerpuff Girls, Bubbles uses her coding skills to help save the internet. Kids can develop their problem-solving and creative skills by visiting the free Scratch coding platform and using the new tutorial to make animations, stories and games starring Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup.
“Coding is an important part of being a kid now,” said Christina Miller, president and general manager of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang. “When we were all in school, we were figuring out how to go from print to script and what language to choose and learn. I feel at this moment that coding is a part of kids’ everyday lives, and they have that ability to be creators at their fingertips.”
The Powerpuff Girls episodes are part of Cartoon Network’s ongoing commitment “to inspire the next generation of young creators.”
“Our role is one of reach — we get to bring this opportunity to as many kids as possible across our platforms,” Miler said. “This is the future generation of creators. They’re able to animate and create things, and that’s part of what excited us about providing these tools for a generation.”
The aim is to reach as many kids as possible, regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, etc. The Powerpuff Girls was chosen because it is a “beloved brand” that recently returned to TV and the timing made sense, but other properties also are being considered.
The initiative also involves the introduction of “Make It Fly,” a tutorial that shows young people how to create interactive animations and games using the Scratch global coding platform.
“We’re super excited about this free coding tutorial. So much of this is about letting kids know that they can do this too — we’re giving them the tools and the characters they love and helping them create,” Miller said. “Scratch is the perfect partner; it’s an open source tool available to everybody. And Scratch has the ability to grow with children and really become a hobby for them.”
The Powerpuff Girls free coding tutorial is available here.
Earlier this year, Cartoon Network announced its collaboration with the White House on its Computer Science for All initiative, a movement focused on making coding and other hands-on science, technology, engineering and math learning an integral part of every student’s education.
“We’re not just creating shows anymore but immersive worlds, hands-on ways for children to interact with our brands,” Miller said. “We want to make sure we’re creating content in different ways and not just making one episode and expecting that to serve all platforms.”
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