21 Things – Using Stop Motion to Engage Students

Stop motion movies are a great way to engage students in learning. In a stop motion movie. the students will set up a choose a story line and set a scene. They will take a picture of the setting, slightly move the characters, and take another picture. This process is repeated until the story line has been told.

Stop motion movies can be made in a variety of ways. With iOS 8, Apple devices have a built-in feature in their camera called time-lapse. This feature takes a picture every ten seconds. Or you can take the pictures and add them to an app. A great app for creating Stop Motion movies is Lego Movie Maker. The app is free, and it has many features which make creating stop motion movies quick and easy.

The app allows you to choose from their template title screen or create your own. Pictures can be taken by touching the picture button or snapping your fingers. Another great feature is an onion overlay which allows you to see where the items were in the last picture then place them in another position. Theme music and effects are available to add to the movie. Editing is done easily. Additional frames can be added for cut-outs with word and thought clouds and title bars. The length of time for slides can be easily changed to show the slide for a set number of slides. In addition the speed of the video can be adjusted from two slides per second to 10 slides per second.

I worked to create the following project with my four-year old, Elise. She likes how it works. However, she was disappointed that she could not get her entire thought on one slide at the end. We viewed the video at the slowest speed and fastest speed. She chose to use the fastest speed making our nearly 30-second video a 12-second video.

Stop motion movies require planning and forethought before beginning the project, analysis of how you want to move characters, and a determination of where you want to add special features such as sound  and cutouts.

Students can create stop motion movies to show how to react to different social situations. These videos can be shown to younger students to help open a dialogue about how to act in different social settings. Videos could also be created showing how a scene could play out differently than in a book or novel.

What experiences do you have with using stop motion movies in your curriculum? How might you use them to engage students in your class? Share your ideas, feedback, and questions in the comments or email me – marc@marcdaly.com.