Focus on Material and Medium: Stop Motion Animations

I have done many residencies exploring stop motion animation, and this past semester I decided to bring the focus back to the materials more than ever. Michael R. White 5th and 6th grades both made stop motion animations reflecting different subject matters. The 5th grade focused on the earth’s movement around the sun, while the 6th grade explored principles of rocks and minerals. The different subjects heavily influenced choices of material. 6th graders primarily used rocks and jewell pieces to make patterns, whereas 5th grade focused much more on clay, paper, and foam to create their universes.

The magic students can create with stop motion can be seen in their videos below. The first day of filming is always the most exciting, as viewing and creating these animations is a very different experience. One group of 6th graders became so engrossed in the filming process that they ended up making several videos, featuring their own clay characters, in addition to their rocks and minerals film. Taking pictures to create a video allowed the students to experience movement differently than a traditional filming process.

As the 6th grade was a bit more advanced with their projects, I introduced a different form of animation to the class: Scratch animation, through the offline editor. I was very curious as to which form of creating the class preferred, stop motion(which requires teamwork and creating with your hands) versus Scratch(which is more of a solo experience animating on the computer). Most students preferred the stop motion format, and this will be my primary focus in the future for this age group.

As stop motion does allow students to work together and make creative decisions both individually and as a team, it allows students who usually don’t have to confidence in their artistic skills to showcase them. Watch the videos below, and I’m sure you will be floored by some of the simple material and editing decisions made by these creative artists.

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