The fourth graders did a unit on animation. We talked about different types of animation, how they can be made, and what they look like.
We practiced the basic concept of “making a still picture move” by making thaumatropes and 2 step animations. To make the thaumatropes, the students drew a picture on either side of a round piece of paper. The two pictures were related but different: a whale and ocean waves or an ice cream sundae and a cherry. The trick to making these animations move is to draw one of the pictures upside down. This way, when the paper flips back and forth, the two images are combined into one. To make this fast spinning possible, we tied yarn through holes on either side that could be twisted through your fingers.
To create the 2 step animation, we folded a piece of paper in half and cut a flap in the front fold. We drew two pictures, one on each layer. This time, the pictures were similar but with one component that had been changed: a sun high in the sky then setting on the horizon line, or a hand waving. To make the images move, the front flap is rolled up around a pencil then pulled up and down like a shade to visually combine the pictures.
For the third project, the students made flip books. They began by watching a short video on how Pixar animators create story boards. Next, they filled out a brainstorming worksheet with their ideas. Finally, they transferred their drawings onto post-it notes and turned them into flip books.