Computing – making stop motion animation films

As part of their connected curriculum topic studying Anglo-Saxon settlers and Viking invaders, Year 4 wrote, animated and directed their own animated film telling the story of a Viking raid.

The first task was to storyboard the movie so they could visualise the story they wanted to tell.  The story was divided into parts such as the Anglo-Saxons doing chores, Vikings boarding long ships, and the battle scene and then each group chose a scene to animate.  A backdrop was created, characters and props made and then the children were ready to animate their scenes.   It also helped that the children had made a range of fantastic models of Viking long ships and other props as part of their learning log projects.

The animation technique the children used, is called stop motion animation and is where objects are moved a bit at a time and photographed. When all the photos are played in sequence, it looks as if the objects are moving.  This is an incredibly slow process and takes a great deal of patience especially in a busy classroom where things get knocked and moved!

Having completed the animation, the children had created a silent film so then needed to add voices and sound effects to bring the film to life.  The children took great pleasure in giving their characters voices and were inventive in how they added sound effects to the film.  For example, in the battle scene the clashing weapons that can be heard are in fact knives and forks!  When all of the voices had been added, the whole film was stitched together, titles and credits added and a final version completed.  All that was left to do was to invite a specially selected audience of parents to watch the premier.

The connected nature of the topic allowed the children to recall and use their historical knowledge of the Anglo-Saxons to create their animations. This process makes it more likely that they will be able to remember the key historical knowledge. At the same time, having the background knowledge for the “Raiders!” story meant they could focus on the animation skill in computing.