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Keywords: animation, art
Subject(s): Art
Grades 9 through 12
Original Author: Frank Bush, Henry
With the Grant award, students will be able to create animation productions, as well as create works with digital photography as an art form. Illinois State Teaching Goals and Standards suggest that lessons in the visual arts incorporate time arts: IL.26.A.4e > Visual Arts: Analyze and evaluate how tools/technologies and processes combine to convey meaning. This lesson aligns to state and national goal and standards. Henry-Senachwine High School is a small rural school district with approximately 200 students. At the present time, the art department does not have digital equipment and this new equipment will allow the entire art curriculum to take advantage of current technologies.

Exploration in Animation

Theme: Time Arts/Film

Lesson Title: Group Animation

Grade Level: High School

Time: Twelve 48 minute class meetings

Art Concept: Depicting and describing a narrative through time arts.

Artmaking Processes and Techniques: Use processes and technical aspects of stop-motion and Frame-based animation to demonstrate basic knowledge of time arts.

Art Elements/Principles of Design: Shape, Form, Color, Contrast, Emphasis, and Unity

National Standards: 1a, 1b, 2b, 3b, 5b
State Goals, Learning Standards and Benchmarks: 25.A.3d, 25.B.3, 26.A.3e, 26.B.3d, 27.A.3
Disciplines: AP, AH, AC, AE
Domains: C2, C4, C5, C6

Overview: As a result of this unit in time arts, students will gain an understanding of the elements of value, perspective and color schemes; the principles of contrast, emphasis and unity; and the expressive qualities of thematic development and sequence.

Rationale: Through the exploration of animation techniques students will be able to describe and depict emotions and expressions with processes, traditional tools and modern technologies used in the arts.

When shown films by Nick Park, Disney, and William Kentridge, in groups, create at least 8 story boards sketches and use at least one of the processes and technical aspects of animation to create a 20 second film to demonstrate basic knowledge of animation filmmaking. 1b, AP (C5)
When shown images of Disney animation from 1940’s, Warner Brothers animation from the 1950’s, and Hanna Barbara animation from the 1960’s, the students will be able to identify historical and political themes in early animation. 2a, AH (C2)
When shown films, stills, and slides of animated film, students will be able to describe how many different tools, processes, and modern computer technologies artists use to create the effects in stop-motion and frame-based animation and will be able to identify and describe elements of color schemes, emphasis, and unity. 1a, AC (C2)
When shown film segments and stills of dance forms and photography as well as Disney’s animated film Fantasia, students will determine if animation, film, and photography are valued forms of art. 3b, AC, AE (C4, C6)

Participation: Demonstrate a willingness to learn about other disciplines by positively contributing to the discussion at least twice during the lesson and participate in all artmaking activities. (A1)


Animation - the making of movies by filming a sequence of slightly varying drawings or models so that they appear to move and change when the sequence is shown.
Background Paintings -A painting or other artwork depicting the environment in which the character operates.
Flip Book- sometimes the artists might make a quick flip book of the general sketches of what a single scene might take. They use a thin cardboard to draw the frames on crudely. Then they flip it through with their thumbnail to check if the animation looks right, works right, and if it speaks the scene well. They may use many of these to get the job done.
Frame- is a single picture to be used in a single animation scene. A cartoon shows at about 24 frames a second. That's about 35, 000 frames for a thirty- minute episode.
Frame-based animation - is the simulating movement by displaying a sequence of static frames. When the frames are shown in rapid succession, they create the illusion of movement.
Metamorphosis -is a clay animation technique in which one character is transformed into another by gradually re-sculpting the figure.
Replacement Animation -is a technique in which multiple sculptures are produced and brought to life by shooting each for one frame.
Squash and Stretch -is an effect in which a character is taken through a series of exaggerated poses, from a flattened to an elongated shape.
Stop-motion animation - Taking a picture moving the actors and scenery taking another picture... Then when all the frames are viewed together a smooth animation is produced depending on the amount of distance the moving parts were moved between each snapshot.
Story Boards - A series of sketches, similar to a comic strip, which outlines the action and dialogue in a scene. These drawings would be pinned up on a bulletin board and arranged, re-arranged and replaced as the story took shape. Early rough storyboard sketches are referred to as Thumbnails, while more detailed drawings would be called Finished or Final Storyboard Panels.

Motivation: Apply skills and knowledge necessary to create and perform in one or more of the arts. Demonstrate basic knowledge of filmmaking. Create stop motion claymation figures or abstract compositions to describe or depict an emotion or mood.

Student Prerequisite: foundations in design, drawing, and compositional skills
Instructional Methods: Film examples of claymation and other animation techniques. Teacher demonstration. Hands-On student group involvement. Group discussion.

Learning Activities

Art historical presentation

Procedure (Teacher Directed)
Use animation from various generations to show how the art form has evolved throughout film history and how animation can be used to depict emotions or moods of society.


Materials: digital camera, drawing materials, modeling clay, computer, and video editing software

Set Induction: Ask students about their favorite cartoons now and when they were younger. Do you know what cartoons that parents enjoyed when they were children?

Day One:
(Teacher Directed): Introduction of animation as art form.
• Power point Presentation
• Assign students to groups
• Distribute assignment requirements

Day Two:
(Guided Practice) Students will:
• Break into groups to discuss roles in film-making process.
• Groups will brainstorm ideas for film theme
(Teacher Directed)
• Watch 15 minute short by Nick Park, Creature Comforts.
• Homework Assignment: create eight sketches for a story board ideas

Days Three through Five:
(Teacher Directed)
• View early Disney short film and work by William Kentridge
• Talk about various techniques of animation (stop-motion and Frame-based animation.)
• Discuss animation as an art form / aesthetic questions
• Identify the components of film processes, technologies, and composition elements
(Guided Practice) Students will
• Work in groups to develop film projects

Day Six:
(Guided Practice) Students will
• Critic group story boards
• Decide orally in group discussion whether story boards are an art form or tool in the artmaking process

Day Seven:
(Guided Practice) Students will
• Group work on animation production
• Create clay models and digitally photograph each movement in animation
• Read segment in text, The Visual Experience, page 194 from chapter on careers in art in regards to Film and Television.
• Fifteen question Take-home test over Chapter 14 – Careers in Art

Day Eight:
(Guided Practice) Students will
• Self-grade take-home test as a class
• Group work on animation process
• Groups may go to computer lab to edit segments into animation

Day Nine:
(Guided Practice) Students will
• Group work on animation production
• Question and answer on individual group work

Day Ten:
(Guided Practice) Students will
• Quiz on terminology and techniques
• Group work on animation production
• Home-work assignment: In writing in a page or less students will interview parent/guardian to ask what is their favorite childhood animation and why.

Days Eleven and Twelve:
• View group productions
• Critique and analyze successes
• Plan for public premier of student work as fundraiser for art department and community service projects
• Question the validity of animation as an art form
• Class voting for “Academy Awards”

(Teacher Directed)
• Ask about techniques and terminology as well as successes in problem solving as a group

Extensions and enrichment for early finishers”
Students who finish early may work on
• Sketch books
• Clean up work areas
• Create sketches for additional ideas
Adaptations for Special Needs Students
(Rubric and Assessments developed for all students to meet minimum standard.)
English Language Learner:
• Use broader and simplified explanations.
• Research terms and phrases in student’s language. Use interpreter if available.
• Give written hand outs with pictorial illustrations of procedures of artmaking lessons
Physically Handicapped –
• Team students up together so students can help each other
• Make sure supplies, tools and equipment are accessible for all students
Students with ADD/ADHD –
• Give students check list to complete each day
• Review tasks to be completed each day
• Encourage successful production

Evaluation/Assessment Procedures
Did each student/group:
1. Complete sketches for story board idea
2. Participate in group work
3. Complete written components
4. Create a 20 second animation film
Assessment tools
• Test/Quiz
• Rubric
• Observation/ Anecdotal record
• Written responses

Assessment of Student Learning

Artmaking Historical/Cultural Criticism Aesthetics
Ingroups, created at least 8 story board sketches and use at least one of the processes and technical aspects of animation and created a 20 second film Identified and described historical and political themes. Described the differences between the tools, processes, and modern computer technologies artists use to create the effects in stop-motion and Frame-based animation. Determined if animation, film, and photography are valued forms of art.
Participation: Teacher Observation and Checklist


Salome, R. and Hobbs, J. (1995). The visual experience (2nd edition), Worcester, MA., Davis
publications, Inc.



Developed and written by Frank Bush 2006 **
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Thematic subjects can be connected to history, social studies and reading/writing.
Whole school activities and fundraising can be connected to the activity.
Materials: Point and Shoot, Digital SLR, Slideshow, Video Editing, Camera Bags, xD Memory Cards, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries
Other Items: 4 Clay
Associated File: 6126.kid