Moving Object Stop Motion

In this playful skill building activity students collaborate to create a short animation of an object moving across the room on its own. This is a great activity for students who are new to animation.

Moving Object Stop Motion

Moving Object Stop Motion

Contributed by Andy Gaukel

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In this playful skill building activity students collaborate to create a short animation of an object moving across the room on its own. This is a great activity for students who are new to animation.


  • Introduction:
    • Introduce the project in your own words, for example: Today we’re working as a team, to create a Stop-Motion animation of an object traveling across the room. Together we will make an object appear to be moving all by itself.
    • Invite students to share existing knowledge regarding stop motion techniques. To provide instruction in multiple ways, you can invite students to demonstrate their understanding by moving and pausing as if they were frames in a stop motion animation.
    • Use their responses to build an explanation of the process: Using a camera and an animation application we will take photos of an object over and over again, each time moving the object a little bit then putting all those photos together to create a sequence. 
  • Preproduction:
    • Invite students choose an object and plan an interesting pathway for the object as it moves across the space. Demonstrate ideas such as diagonal, zig- zag, wavy, rollercoaster etc.
    • Pathways. An adult in a power chair draws a zigzag on the floor with their movements.
    • Ask students to designate a starting point and an ending point for the object. A student or two can mark these points with painters tape to help the group remember.
    • Ask students to add an obstacle to the path and adjust the pathway the object will travel. Some possible obstacles could be  a pile of books, a desk, a classroom professional or a willing student. 
    • Demonstrate and chart the route, providing a visual plan.
    • Introduce the roles of photographer and puppeteer and explain that everyone can have the opportunity to do both.
    • In your own words explain the importance of keeping the camera stationary. “Some of the magic behind creating stop-motion animations is keeping the camera stationary (in one place with no movement) for the entire animation process. The movement comes from the object”.
  • Animating:
    • Once you have the camera set up and the space ready, take 5 photos of the space without the object, then choose your first photographer and puppeteer.
    • Each photographer and puppeteer pair will create five photos, the puppeteer incrementally moving the object along the route for each. 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. 
  • Reflection:
      • Share the final animation project with the full class. 
      • After viewing the final product, reflect on the process: What worked really well? What could be improved for next time? What did they learn about stop animation?

Transition into Activity

Share examples of stop-motion animations before the class begins its creation process.

Transition out of Activity

Invite students to move back to their space in a stop-motion manner such as small movement, pause, repeat.

Classroom Arrangement

Audience type formation around the animating space. The animating space could be on a large table or group of desks, the floor, or a long windowsill. Depending on what technology is in the classroom, you could connect the device with the animation application to a screen or board in the class for students to observe progress as students animate.

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • Chart the object’s route on a piece of chart paper so the students have a visual map of the route.
  • Have audience members indicate when the photographer should take a shot by saying “GO” or “ACTION”, signing, or with cue cards. 
  • Provide visuals of different ways the object can move (e.g. diagonal, zig-zag, wavy, rollercoaster etc.). 
  • Consider using job charts and a timer to support pair work.

Possible Roles for Classroom Professionals

  • Participate in the animation process as a photographer and puppeteer.
  • Serve as a human obstacle.
  • Promote positive encouragement and reinforcement from the student audience members.

Adjustments for Remote Instruction

  • Students can use objects from their home, and/or objects they create using paper or “found” materials, to create their own characters. 
  • If available, students can use their phones instead of tablets to take pictures for the animation. To use their phones, they would need to have an animation application on their phone or another device they can connect to. 
  • Share examples of stop-motion videos and a video how-to to scaffold step-by-step what students will do independently. 
  • Students can work individually or in small break-out rooms where Classroom Professionals are available to provide support, and you can provide specific instructions for how students can upload these videos so that the whole class can share what they have created.


30-40 mins