Teacher Sign Up
Sign In
Design and Develop Animated Characters

Students design and develop animated characters based on everyday objects. They outline an idea for a short film featuring those characters.

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, compile a list of everyday objects. Brainstorm ideas about how some of these objects have been or could be developed into characters in an animated film.
  2. Instruct each student to select one object. It can be an item from the list or something new they'd like to use. Encourage students to imagine that object as an animated character. What does it look like? How does it act? What makes this character special? 
  3. Instruct students to write a list of their character's key personality traits. Then give each student a piece of plain white paper and access to colored pencils. Challenge students to create a detailed drawing of their characters. 
  4. Divide the class into small groups. Instruct group members to share details about their characters. Challenge them to outline an idea for an animated film featuring each of their characters.

ASSESSMENT: 

Encourage classmates to analyze how well each character's appearance matches its personality traits. Have them examine the film outlines to identify the main point of each story. Discuss how the characters develop and change over time. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:   

Grades 3-4:
Encourage students to focus on using color and shape to reveal their character's personality traits. If students struggle to come up with a story idea, encourage them to adapt the plot from a story or movie all group members know.

Grades 5-6:
Encourage students to use color, shape and size to reveal their character's personality traits. Instruct groups to brainstorm ideas to identify a problem they all share. Challenge them to think of a creative way to use that problem as the basis for an animated film.

Grades 7-8:
Have group members come up with a story idea before identifying and developing their characters. Then instruct group members to work together to create a detailed sketch of each character featured in the film. As groups write their outlines, challenge them to briefly note how mood, music and the setting will contribute to the story line.

Grades 9-10:
Have group members come up with a story idea before identifying and developing their characters. Then instruct group members to work together to write a short biography and create a detailed sketch of each character featured in the film. As groups write their outlines, challenge them to describe in detail how mood, music and the setting will contribute to the story line. Instruct groups to also include a brief pitch explaining why their story would make a wonderful animated film.