Educational TV: From Soup to Nuts
with Peg + Cat
PBS has been in the business of making learning fun for a long time, and Peg + Cat is a smart, quirky animated show that teaches math to young children. The program has won several Emmys, including “Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Animated Program.” Peg + Cat’s creators, Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley, will demonstrate how they take a math concept (such as odd numbers or parallel lines) and dream up ways to teach it through story, bringing every tool available to the task — plot, dialogue, pictures, and music. Thus primed, the teachers will be divided into groups and given a mathematical concept so they can come up with story ideas of their own. The underlying theme of the day will be the ways in which the imagination supports learning.
Billy Aronson is a playwright. In addition to his many plays, he came up with the original concept for the musical Rent, to which he also contributed lyrics. Aronson has written for many popular children shows, including Postcards from Buster, Code Name: Kids Next Door, The Upside Down Show, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Beavis and Butthead.
Jennifer Oxley is a director and an artist. Her film, The Music Box, is in The Museum of Modern Art’s permanent children’s film collection. Oxley has directed 15 films for Sesame Street, was a director on the children’s show Little Bill, and created the look and animation style of The Wonder Pets!