Teacher Sign Up
Sign In
Monday Morning Ready10.23.2015
Jumpstart Your Week!

New York City has a new destination for animation admirers. It is the Process Lab of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The lab is housed in Andrew Carnegie's grand old office suite. The lab is the museum's interactive space. Visitors of all ages can participate in the design process. ... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Think about your favorite animated film. What story did it tell? How did the characters change? What did they learn?

Grade 5-6

According to the article, it takes five years to make a full-length, animated film. Does that surprise you? Why or why not?

Grade 7-8

What do you think would be the hardest part about making an animated film? Why?

Grade 9-10

According to the article, artists create pencil and ink "concept" sketches, architectural drawings, paintings, clay sculptures and digitally created images of animated film characters. How do you think each stage of this process helps artists develop their final characters?

LESSON PLAN
Design and Develop Animated 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.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Buzz Lightyear: To Inifinity and the Air and Space Museum
This Smithsonian article details the journey of Buzz Lightyear, from the space shuttle Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum exhibit, "Moving Beyond Earth."

Designing A Mythical Creature
In this lesson, students will brainstorm a list of modern conundrums that could use some explanation. They then sculpt or paint representations of mythological creatures that explain the origins of something.

Animation Flip Books
In this lesson, students are introduced to basic elements of animation. They will learn about the role of design in entertainment from classic cartoons. Students will create a “bouncing ball” flip book to demonstrate their knowledge of sequential motion.

The Transit in Pictures
In this lesson students will write a screenplay and produce a movie or animation of a Transit of Venus including narration. The lesson also includes options for paper flip animation or use of electronic media.

Here’s How Disney Animates Snow
This Smithsonian article shows how Disney animators use computers to create snow for their films.
ALSO ON TEENTRIBUNE.COM