Lower Key Stage 2 Scenario

Introduction

Outcomes

  • Understood stop motion techniques (including onion skinning)

  • Created an animation that is reflective of a classic arcade game

  • Used Lego to make representations of pixel based sprites

  • Added sound effects and music using iMovie

  • Watched own animations and evaluate against agreed success criteria.

  • Given useful feedback to other learners about their animations e.g. using a survey on a learning platform.

  • Respond positively to feedback from peers and teachers, and make changes to improve animations.​

Computing National Curriculum Links

​To select, use and combine a variety of software (including internet services) on a range of digital devices to design and create a range of and content that accomplish given goals, including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting information

eSafety/Digital Literacy Considerations

​Children need to understand how to search safely for content and flag any inappropriate content.​​

Keywords

  • Stop motion: a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started, for example to give animated figures the impression of movement.

  • Onion skinning: Onion skinning is a 2D computer graphics term for a technique used in creating animated cartoons and editing movies to see several frames at once. This way, the animator or editor can make decisions on how to create or change an image based on the previous image in the sequence.​​

  • Frames: frames are individual pictures in a sequence of images.

  • Tripod: ​a three-legged stand for supporting a camera or other apparatus.

Software/app/hardware choices

  • Stop Motion Studio app​ (iOS and Android)

  • There are many variations of stop motion apps available (always test free versions to be satisfied before making purchases)

  • IMovie​ app

  • IPads or any other device that can take images

  • Tripods

  • Lego

Cross Curricular Ideas

  • English - Creating advertisements for the games. Children could use a audio app such as GarageBand to make a radio advert using persuasive devices. 

  • English - 'How to' instructional videos for Lego stop motion​.

  • Art - Using Lego to create pixel art style artwork that can be photographed. Use photographs of places and ask pupils to create Lego examples.

Before you Start

  • Ensure the relevant apps are installed on devices   ​

  • Ensure that all children have access to Lego​

  • ​​For the best effect- ensure that your pupils have a way of keeping the camera still above the Lego. Tripods are available in a variety of forms to support this. 

The Big Picture

Here is an idea for you to consider:

The classic arcade games company have asked you to create an animation using Lego for future adverts of their products. They want the animations to be as accurate as possible to really show off the classic game ideas. 

Or you could try:

A British airline is looking for new in-flight entertainment on its long haul flights. After a recent survey it was found that the most popular choices were animations based on story books. 

 

You must take your current story book and turn it in to an exciting animation using Stop Motion Animation. It is important to take enough frames so that the story is not rushed and that any audio added is clear and easy to follow for the ​​​young passengers. 

Key Questions

  • How is the sense of movement created in stop motion animation?

  • Why take multiple shots of the same placement?

  • What is the benefit of using the onion skin? 

arcade-machine.jpg

Awareness

 

Plan

Do children know of any classic arcade games (Tetris/Pac-Man/Breakout/Frogger etc). Begin by looking at some classic arcade games usin the links in the 'Resources' section - they may recognise the modern day versions of some of these (i.e. Crossy Road/Frogger). 

 

At this point, you may wish the children to record some of their observations and thoughts using the Awareness reco​​rding sheet​. 

 

Show children the animation Lego Arcade Use the examples for a WAGOLL (What a good one looks like)

 

How has this animation been created? 

 

After watching the clip a few times, use the mouse on the timeline to physically show how the clip has been created by moving the pieces in very small movements and taking an image (some children may notice that the same image is used twice - this is called tweening and is a way of making the finished animation feel smoother to view).

 

Model creating a simple clip using basic pieces of Lego on the Stop Motion Studio app. Make small movements and take photographs each time. Show that with each photograph taken, a new frame is created. By adding extra shots of same placement, you are creating a smoother viewing experience. This is linked to FPS (Frames per second). The amount of frames per second has an impact on the smoothness of the animation. 24 FPS is a standard however going for fewer FPS (10 or 15) can create a 'bouncy' animation. 

 

For best effect, if possible, use a tripod and position it so that the camera is directly above the Lego so when you animate it the camera stays as still as possible.

 

Use the onion skin feature to show pupils how to look at the last frame and ensure that keep continuity within the piece.

 

Show that you need a lot of frames in order to create a clip that is longer than a few seconds

 

Explain that the children will be producing their own animation using a chosen piece of software.

Extension/Differentiation

​Pupils could create a simple how to set of instructions for stop motion to be used in next session.

Skills

 

Plan

Using the examples created by other pupils, can the children identify the key aspects needed for a successful stop motion animation? Create a success criteria that can be used throughout the following stages of the topic.

 

An example one could include:

  • Is the action centred on the camera?

  • Are the pieces moving naturally without any big jumps between frames?

  • Are lights/shadows consistent?

  • Are the base pieces always in the correct position and not sliding?

  • Does the animation represent the game that has been chosen?

  • Is the background clutter free (no extra pieces or hands in the back of shots)?

 

Allow the children to experiment with the chosen software, possibly creating a short animation of their choice. This will give them the opportunity to see how animation works and to see how Lego pieces need to make a large number of movements to create a short piece of film.

 

It is important that the camera is set up directly over the animations and that the Lego base plates are secured on the table to avoid movement (Blue-tack is great for this. Ideally a cheap stand could be used to hold the tablet in place for a smooth animation.​

 

Set a series of challenges for the pupils so that they develop their skills for example: 

  • Make a piece of Lego move across the board forwards and backwards.

  • Rotate a set of blocks clockwise/anti-clockwise.

  • Write your initals, brick by brick, in Lego on a board.  

  • Grow a Lego plant in stop motion.

  • Make a lego piece accelerate and decelerate? ​​

 

For acceleration and deceleration, adding small movements close together to start speeding up and then making larger movements that are further apart to show speed of movement before smaller movements again to slow down can create the effect of changes in speed. Look at this video for an example (30 seconds to 1 minute of the clip.) There is another example to demonstrate this idea here.

 

​Ensure that the children can experiment with the effect that light and shadow can play on the animation.

 

Give pupils the opportunity to be fully confident using onion skinning to create smooth and consistent animations.  

Key Questions

  • Have you ensured that the only movement comes from the pieces of Lego, not the iPad or base plate?

  • What effect does light have on the animation? How can we control this?

  • Can you explain to your partner how onion skinning works?​

Extension/Differentiation

Pupils may be able to experiment with the writing of letters using Lego to create their opening and credits.

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Planning and Creation

 

Plan

Planning 

The planning process is not only a vital part in any successful animation, it also involves a number of cross curricular skills for pupils, namely;​

  • Problem solving - through asking questions and discussing problems in groups.

  • Improved fluency of language and a flexibility of ideas - discussing and sharing ideas and agreeing on a chosen project.

  • Collaboration and cooperation.

 

The children in pairs need to choose an arcade game to animate.

Using the Lego Base designs sheet, work with the children (in small groups) to develop some ideas for their animation (how will the different pieces look/backgrounds be created?).

 

When the children have decided on their game, use a storyboard to plan. The students must create a plan that has a specific start and end point in the game.

 

Creation

Re-introduce stop motion studio app to the children, Highlight the importance of using their plan as a 'guide' and allow them time to produce their animation, taking into consideration all the key features that make a successful animation (success criteria).

 

When the children have completed their animation, spend time sharing as a class to allow pupils to make any alterations to the animations.

 

If time allows- allow pupils to export their work and then using iMovie, add music and sound effects as appropriate. Watch the video here​ for support with this. 

Key Questions

  • What do we need to remember as we create our final animations?       

  • Linked to the success criteria, what did you think was successful about you/your classmates work?

  • What would do differently to be even better next time?​

Extension/Differentiation

When choosing the games, encourage pupils that are displaying great confidence with stop motion to attempt more complex animations (e.g. Pac-man) or to even create their own versions of games that are not included in the examples (e.g. Tetris).

Plan

Now it is time for the children to take on the role of classic games makers and to critically evaluate the nominations for the advert.

 

Split the children into groups for each game - give them time to look at the original game/Lego animation so that they are familiar with it.

 

Reinforce the use of the success criteria in evaluations.

 

Groups now present their animations and the judges provide feedback on the quality of the animations.

 

Ensure that the criteria is used for feedback and that pupils share their views in constructive ways.​

 

The 'winning' entries are then shown to the whole class and potentially should be considered for Digis entries under 'Best Animation'. ​​

Links to Resources

Key Questions

  • What makes this animation stand out?

  • How has this animation used the success criteria effectively?   

  • What were the challenges for this type of animation?

  • What do you feel you did well with during this topic?   

  • What could be improved about this animation?​

Extension/Differentiation

Children could have a Dragon's Den style TV show which they could film to really make the evaluations come to life!​

Sharing and Evaluation

 

Assessment

 

All learners will be able to

  • Understand the importance of timing and frames in animation to create smooth movement.

  • Plan animations with a clear structure e.g. using storyboards.

  • Watch own animations and evaluate against agreed success criteria.

  • Give useful feedback to other learners about their animations .

Some learners will be able to

  • Adopt roles within a team when creating an animation.

  • Make appropriate use of key features and concepts when using animation software – e.g. 'onion skinning' and 'tweening'.

  • Prepare a suitable audio track to accompany animations including narration, music and sound effects.​

Most learners will be able to

  • Adopt roles within a team when creating an animation.

  • Make appropriate use of key features and concepts when using animation software – e.g. 'onion skinning' and 'tweening'.

  • Prepare a suitable audio track to accompany animations including narration, music and sound effects.​