I have always wanted to do a stop motion animation project with students but was overwhelmed the the amount of equipment I would need -- cameras, tripods, computers, computer software, a computer lab.... times however many groups I would have.
Then came iPads and iPad apps. Sometime during the summer or fall I found an app called 'Stop Motion'. It's a .99 cent app that is super user friendly that creates stop motion animation -- you can do all sorts of things directly in this app to have a full video of awesomeness.
Now that I found the app I just needed enough iPads - which was almost as overwhelming as needing ALL the extra equipment. Lucky for me our building purchased a few iPads for teacher/student use. I claimed the iPads for two weeks in May to try out stop motion animation!
I waited. I planned.
May came and suddenly it was time to load up the iPads with Stop Motion and pray to the art teaching gods that my lesson plan would work.
The week before I drew out some backgrounds on some old file folders and asked students to color them when they were finished with work.
I also took some GIANT white paper, an iPad, and a ruler to grid out the sight lines of the camera. I had students color this grey.
The day came to put all my planning to the test - about 20 minutes before my first class walked in I tried to download the .99 app only to find no way to purchase the app and download it on each iPad. (rightfully so, the school ipads did not come with a credit card on file). I started to panic. Would I really need to buy 10.00 gift cards for each one for a 99 cent app?!!? Then I got smart. I gifted Stop Motion to myself 4 times and redeemed them on each ipad. WHEW. That was close.
How I set it up:
3-5 kids in a group depending on how many students are in class (I had 6 stations)
1 Large white paper with grey trapizoid
1 iPad loaded with Stop Motion
1 ruler to angle iPad
I explained how the app worked, their job, how to rotate through being the director, and stressed as much as I could to NOT MOVE THE IPAD OR THE BACKGROUND.
One student is the Director at a time. The director's job is to make sure all body parts are out of the shot- take the picture - then tell group to move pieces. I set a timer for 2 or 3 minutes (depending on group size). When the timer goes off directors change. The director doesn't get to boss around what the movers do - their only job is to clear the picture of body parts and take the picture. The group works together to make ONE long video - the video DOES NOT change when the director does.
The lesson worked even better than I expected. The kids used the app with little help or instruction. I did find that the older students did a better job being patient and moving pieces a little at a time - the younger kids seemed to get excited and make larger movements between pictures.
Towards the end of class I have groups clean up their stations while I collect their iPads and turn on the projector. When everyone is cleaned up we watch their movies on the digital projector. (All you need is an adapter that goes from your iPad to VGA cable for the projector).
Overall the lesson was a complete success - I have parents e-mailing asking what app it is, students are begging to do it again next time (which I already have planned!)