• Web-based Career & Technical Education

A CTE Crash Course in Animation

March 21st, 2018 Mike Gecawich

For many kids across the country, Saturday morning means one thing: Cartoons!

There is something timeless about watching cartoons and eating sugary cereal in your pajamas.

Whether it’s superheroes, Nickelodeon, or something from Disney, nearly all children love cartoons.

The novelty of watching cartoons may wear off by high school, but making your own cartoon is a whole other story.

Just imagine how enthusiastic your students would be about the prospect of making their very own animated movie.

This season, consider bringing some joy to your classroom by teaching a unit on digital animation.

iAcademy recently released a course, Animation 101, that introduces students to the basics of making their drawings come to life.

Through a series of web-based activities, students will learn everything they need to know to get started with animation and to create an animated outer space adventure.

Apart from being fun, learning digital animation also builds valuables skills that students will use in future academic and professional careers.

Read on to find out more about what they’ll learn.

Reinforce Literacy Skills

From elementary school, students learn about the different components of a story.

Through animation, students get to explore how these elements work together to make content interesting and logical.

For example, in Activity 9: In a Land Far, Far Away, students create the setting for their animated short.

Doing so requires students to think about how the setting will affect the plot and how different story elements interact with one another.

Boost Creativity

It’s no surprise that creativity is a valuable skill for more than just artists and writers.

Engineers, finance analysts, and salespeople will be better at their jobs if they can approach problems in creative ways.

By giving students a specific framework within which to work, but allowing them to add their own ideas and flare to their project, animation creates space to develop creative thinking skills.

Reinforce Math Skills

Your students will likely be surprised just how many frames it takes to build out a full cartoon.

As students get started creating their frames, they’ll need to calculate how long their cartoon will be based on the number of frames per second.

In Activity 8: Learn About the Timeline, students will run these calculations and adjust them based on how long they want their animation to be.

Students will get invaluable practice using math skills in an authentic context.

Incentivize Attention to Detail

Students can be quick to rush into things without carefully reading the directions.

While they’re welcome to try that here, they’ll soon find that attention to detail is incredibly important in animation.

It’s no surprise that being detail-oriented is also a valuable skill for life and the workplace, regardless of what field you’re working in.

Animation is a great way for students to practice paying attention to every detail.

Emphasize the Powers of Presentation

At the end of the day, a cartoon is a way to present information.

The most impressive presentations are polished, well thought out, and exceed the audience’s expectations.

In Animation 101, students finish their animations by taking their cartoons to the next level.

Activity 29 teaches students how to add music and sound effects to their cartoons to really knock the socks off their audience.

Justify Decisions

In the workplace, you’ll often need to justify and explain your ideas to others.

Believe it or not, this is also a key part of animation.

In Activity 34: Explain Artistic Choices, students reflect on and explain the animation techniques that they used in their cartoon.

In doing so, students will practice important communication skills that they’ll certainly need after graduation.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what students can learn through animation.

As students learn digital animation through the iAcademy course, they’ll gain the confidence and discipline that they need to teach themselves other skills down the road.

And that is what school is all about!

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