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July 8th, 2011

Doon in the wee room: Learning about 3D shape via stop-motion animation 2/3

Derek Robertson
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 : Categories Aberdeenshire, animation, Curriculum for Excellence, Mathematics

Stop-motion animation used to be something that seemed unattainable to me. I remember many years ago watching movies that my uncle had made that had a number of toy cars and trains moving in a orchestrated fashion. Although I now know that he had been using the technique of stop-motion animation at the time I was in awe of the fact that there were no hands helping to move these toys and props… this was a strange magic! I didn’t realise that this was the same technique that was being used in many children’s TV programmes such as Bagpuss, Trumpton and movies such as King Kong (1933). A few years later stop-motion animation came very much to the fore in my generation’s TV viewing experience when Morph made his appearance on Take Hart. It was amazing to see such entertainment and life come to our screens from a simple ball of plasticene.

When I was ‘Doon in the Wee Room’ recently in Tarves PS I saw this very same entertainment, life AND learning in evidence as some P.2/3 children were making their own stop-motion animation using a basic set that they had made, stop-motion animation software, a digital camera and some plasticene. In my discussion with the class teacher I had learned that this activity had arisen as a result of a discussion with the children about 3D shape. One child had made a sphere out of plasticene but had then cut out a mouth and made the sphere talk. This led to an idea to create an animation all about 3D shape and then their subsequent attempts to bring it to life…

Stop Motion Animation

In relation to Curriculum for Excellence it is clear that Technologies TCH 1-04b is being addressed here but the main focus of this learning activity is embedded in Mathematics, namely a focus on 3D Shape MTH1-16a. We can also see from the video how the children are working effectively together to make this project work. Even more importantly in my view is that from this early stage in this classroom these children are being given the framework of opportunities to engage with contexts for learning where they can use digital technologies to create and not just consume. How can such positive attitudes, embedded in their perceptions of themselves as learners, at this stage of their development influence and inform these children’s expectations of themselves, their developing skill-sets and ways in which they can apply these across the range of learning experiences that they will encounter? This can only be good for learners.

The challenge for us all in education is to ensure that we continue to offer such challenging and rich learning environments and experiences where our children can show us just what they can do.


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