Stop-animation movies hold a
special place in many educators' memories. Who can forget "Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer" or "Gumby
creation technology has changed a lot since those childhood classics first aired. But stop
animation, also known as stop-motion video, is a timeless medium
that's simple and straightforward enough for even elementary school students to
To make a
stop animation, you use software to stitch together several still photos of
stationary objects —
anything from the familiar clay sculptures to toys and even drawings. Each frame
marks a progression of the objects' incremental movements that, when combined,
create an uninterrupted video. The result is usually an engaging mashup
that allows the filmmaker to tackle imaginative themes, much like cartoon
animations, but without the need for advanced artistic or animation skills.
It might seem like creating a stop animation with
students would still be a daunting task that would take hours or even days to
Not so, says Stephanie Hinshaw Hatten, an elementary technology instructional specialist who has been using stop animation
projects in elementary school classrooms for more than a decade.
“The medium is surprisingly easy to master and allows young students
flexibility and creativity that would be much more difficult to achieve in
video,” she said. “For example, they can draw illustrations or use toys, Legos,
manipulatives or household objects such as cotton balls to represent abstract
concepts, like molecules or equations, that would be difficult for them to
depict in a regular video.”
According to Hinshaw Hatten, with a little practice, even young kids can make
stop animations to express their learning, in subjects ranging from science to
language arts, in a single class period.
Check out this stop animation that Sara, a ninth grader, created in about an hour to help younger students learn how to master the medium on their own.
Andra Brichacek is ISTE's
senior editor. She has worked as a content creator and editor for nearly two
decades. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @andramere
Top image: A Dinosaur Family Explains Information Architecture by nate bolt. Found on flickrcc.net.