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Animation Festival

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Keywords: animation, claymation, storytelling, digital, stop motion, puppets, group work
Subject(s): Art, Photography, Video, Animation, Social Skills, Technology, Special Needs, Writing, Drama, Music, Reading, Math
Grades 5 through 6
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Boston Collegiate Charter School, Dorchester, MA
Planned By: Julie Talty
Original Author: Julie Talty, Dorchester
Students will create original animated films.

Materials needed:
10 digital cameras
Stop-motion animation software
A laptop or tablet that accepts digital camera photo downloads and can store photos and student work in folders, as well as USB flash drives, and can record sound.
Wire for armatures
Various art supplies for backdrops, props, etc.

The activities outlined below occur over several class periods, comprising an entire unit.

Lesson Plan:

Introduce students to stop-motion animation-- show clips of Wallace and Gromit, Mary and Max, object animation, etc.

Divide students into work groups (3-4 students in a group).

Start with object animation and introduction to technology (digital cameras, software, laptop/tablet, sound recording, etc). Have students create very short stop-motion animations using the digital cameras and animation software with objects and/or drawings.

Group discussions:
1) What worked? What didn't? Why?
2) How can you improve the look of the final product?
3) What do you think the viewer would think/feel/know after watching your animation?
4) What did you learn from object animation that you think will be helpful with clay?

Introduce clay, demonstrate sculpting techniques. Show clips of Gumby, how simple can you make it and have it still make sense?

From this point, work time alternates between developing skills with clay sculpting and developing story lines-- some individual work, some group work. Writing, reading, speaking, drawing, and music will be included in storyboarding.

Ready for final claymation animation: Students present their storyboards to the rest of the class, listen to constructive feedback. Once storyboards are approved, work starts on sculpting and making backdrops, props, sound effects, etc.

Students photograph their animation and download it to the software.

We hold a screening for the entire school, parents, families, and community to attend and celebrate!

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Connect with writing/reading classes to work on storyboards and promote development of editing skills. Connect with math classes to discuss optics, motion, and other physics applications.
Animations could get longer and more intricate! Could also connect further with history classes and have students create animations related to specific course content. Students could share their learning with the middle and high school students and teach them how to do it.
Materials: Whiteboards, Digital Cameras, Point and Shoot, Art Tools, Video Tools, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Animation