March 22, 2019
by Ann Gadzikowski

Lesson plan

Flip Book Animation

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Grade Subject
  • Students will explore the concept of animation by creating a sequence of images that, when put together into a flip book, will show a figure that moves.
(5 minutes)
  • Write the word "animation" on the board. Read the word together with your students and ask them what they know about animation.
  • Explain that to animate something means to make it come alive.
  • Ask students, "Have you ever drawn a picture and then made it come alive?"
  • Show students an example of a flip book, such as A Kitten's Way of Greeting.
  • Announce that the class will be learning animation by creating flip books.
(10 minutes)
  • Show students the "How to Make a Flipbook" video tutorial.
  • Ask students, "How did the artist make the stick figure move?"
  • Facilitate a discussion that draws students' attention to the importance of creating a sequence of small variations. Explain that creating a sequence of images in a flip book is similar to the way computer scientists work with code. Learning to create a sequence for animation is a great way to learn some of the skills used in computer programming.
  • Explain to students that they are going to make their own stick figure flip book using the same techniques shown in the video.
(5 minutes)
  • Pass out 10 cards and a binder clip to each student.
  • Have students draw a stick figure with an arm raised on the first card.
  • Invite them to begin drawing stick figures on the other cards, making small variations in the placement of the arm.
  • Show them how the cards will be held together with the binder clip so they can flip the pages and view the animation.
(20 minutes)
  • Have students work on their flip books independently, allowing for conversation and sharing of ideas and suggestions.
  • Some students may want to hold their cards up to a light or window to better see the lines for tracing.
  • Students who finish quickly can be encouraged to add more cards and create additional stick figure movements.
  • Students can also add color, text or other features to their flip books.

Enrichment: Students with strong drawing abilities can be encouraged to draw more detailed and elaborate figures to animate.

Support: Students who have difficulty drawing can be given a template of a stick figure that they can trace on their own cards.

(5 minutes)
  • Circulate around the room, and observe how well the students understand that the variation in each drawing must be very small in order to show a smooth movement.
  • Measure student success by whether the student is able to create a sequence of images that demonstrate understanding of animation.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite students to share their flip book with a partner.
  • Ask and discuss the following questions: "What did you find most challenging about this activity? What surprised you? The next time you make a flip book, what might you do differently?"

Ann Gadzikowski is an author and educator with a passion for challenging children to think creatively and critically. Her recent book Robotics for Young Children won the 2018 Midwest Book Award for best educational book. Ann developed her expertise in robotics, computer science, and engineering through her work as early childhood coordinator for Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. She has over 25 years of experience as a teacher and director of early childhood programs, and currently serves as the Executive Director of Preschool of the Arts, a Reggio-Emilia inspired school in Madison, Wisconsin.

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