Moving Objects

Goal: To introduce stop-motion animation techniques that can make an object appear as if it is moving on its own.

Moving Objects
  • Intro

Moving Objects

Contributed by Andy Gaukel


To introduce stop-motion animation techniques that can make an object appear as if it is moving on its own. 


  • Introduction: Today we’re working as a team, to create a Stop-Motion animation of a fun object traveling across the room. 
  • Everyone will have an opportunity to be the photographer and puppeteer.
  • Our task today is to “make the object appear to be moving all by itself from one side of space without seeing our hands move it”. 
  • Ask: “Does anyone have an idea of how we could do our task using an iPad and application software”? The answer you are hoping for: “By taking photos of the object over and over again, but each time moving it a little bit and then putting all those photos together to create a sequence”.
  • Plan the Route: Get suggestions from the class for an interesting route for the object to take as it moves across the space. Demonstrate route ideas such as diagonal, zig- zag, wavy, rollercoaster etc. 
  • Have students designate a start point (possibly off screen) and an ending goal for the object. 
  • Ask students to add an obstacle to the path. For example, a pile of books or other objects or the teacher or a willing student (if they feel comfortable doing so) become the obstacle for the object to move around or over. 
  • Ask the class how to modify the objects route with the new obstacle or obstacles. 
  • You or a student demonstrate this route so the class has a visual plan – chart this out as well. 
  • Explain that “Some of the magic behind creating stop-motion animations is keeping the camera (iPad) stationary (in one place with no movement) for the entire animation process. The movement comes from the object”.
  • Before the first pair begins, take five photos of the space without the object. This will create a buffer or an introduction at the start of the film and give the object space to enter the frame. 
  • Action: Once you have the iPad set up and the space ready. Choose one volunteer to start as the photographer and one volunteer to start as the puppeteer, or the person responsible for moving the object.
  • The photographer takes five photos and the puppeteer moves the object five times along the route. The puppeteer should move the object into the space just a little bit. When the puppeteer has placed the object in its spot, then walk out of the frame and tell the photographer “GO”. When the photographer hears “GO” they can take their picture. (You can have the whole class say “Go” as well. After the 5 photos, switch roles.
  • When they are finished a new pair of students become the photographer and the puppeteer continuing the object of its plan route until it reaches its goal. Each pair must work as a team to move the object along its route. 
  • Share the final animation project with the full class.
  •  Reflection: What worked really well?, What could be improved for next time?, What did they learn about stop animation?

Transition into Activity

Show a few examples of stop-motion animations before the class begins its creation process. (TA sets up camera/iPad & space) 

Transition out of Activity

Ask students: Can you move back to your desk in a stop-motion manner? 

Classroom Arrangement

Audience type formation around your animating space.  You animating space could be on a large table/group of desks or even on the floor. Just make sure everyone can see the action. If you have access to a Smart Board, a Promethean or a document camera, connect the iPad in order for the class to watch the progress as the class animates. Set up the iPad in a spot where the entire animating space can be seen in the photo window. 


  • Chart the object’s route on a piece of chart paper so the students have a visual map of the object’s route.
  • Have audience members say “GO” or “ACTION”. You could also add visual cards.
  • Try having students work in pairs on each role so they can support each other. 
  • Ask observers to give positive feedback.
  • Draw on a chart paper different ways the object can move (diagonal, zig-zag, wavy, rollercoaster etc.) 
  • Students who are non-verbal can also point to places on chart or pre-printed images.
  • Student’s don’t have to do both roles if one role suits them more than the other.


  • iPad or similar tablet with a stop- motion animation application uploaded and ready.
  • A fun object. Stuffed animals, plastic or wood toy animals work great! However, any object you can hold in your hand will work. Even a potted plant. 
  • A stand for the iPad or tripod so the iPad can remain stationary and perpendicular to the ground. It is important that the iPad stays completely still, so the iPad should not be held.

Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals

  • Participate in the animation process as a photographer and puppeteer
  • Serve as a human obstacle
  • Help facilitate feedback from the class as the pairs animate.
  • Promote positive encouragement and reinforcement from the student audience members. 

Remote Adaptation

Students can use objects from their home, and/or objects they create using paper or “found” materials, to create their own characters. They can use their phones (if they have these) instead of iPads and a simple/free stop-motion app to take pictures and “film” the video. TA can share examples of stop-motion videos and then create their own video how-to to scaffold step-by-step what students will do. Students can work individually or in small break-out rooms where educators are available to provide support, and the TA can provide specific instructions for how students can upload these videos so that the whole class can share what they have created.

Art forms


30-40 mins