Lesson Plan 2 :: Claymation :: A form of Animation

Here is my second lesson plan, it is designed to cater to classrooms that do not have a large number of computers.

Digital Art Lesson Plan 2.docx
Digital Art Lesson Plan 2.pdf

Lorena Sell

ART 3814

December 15, 2009




Claymation as a form of Animation

(With 2 or 3 Computers)



Grade Level/Age: Grade 6 to 8; 11 to 14 year olds

Time Needed: 6 Class Times

Focus: The students will learn about history of Animation and will work together as a class to create their own animation.




a. ( Students will create original words of artistic contexts.

b. ( Students will demonstrate use of a variety of tools, materials and techniques in media arts based on the characteristics of the hardware and software.

c. Students will learn to work as a class to create a claymation animation.



Motivational Resources:

            Video Examples of Claymation (See Blog or Youtube)


                        Wallace and Gromit

                        Chicken Run

                        Creature Comforts

                        Claymation Christmas

                        Digital Methods Class Example

            Images of Examples (above)

            PowerPoint on Claymation (See Blog)

            Handouts on Claymation (Terms and Tips)

            *******Animation Textbook

            Artists to look at:

                        Nick Park and Aardman Animation, creators of Wallace and Gromit

                        Will Vinton, creator of Claymation Christmas

                        Art Clokey, creator of Gumby



Art Materials:

            Mac Computers (1 or 2)


Photoshop CS3

                        iMovie HD

                        Garage Band

            Baby Wipes

                        Capture Station Setup

                        Background (Fabric or Poster Board)

                        Digital Camera, USB Cable and Tripod

                        Props and Stage Elements (markers, string, toys, etc)

                        Lighting (Table Lamps)

                       Modeling Clay or Plasticine in different colors

*NOTE: Plasticine's color is oil based and leaves residue on hands and may stain other tables, clothes, etc

*For first attempts at claymation, go for a clay that is inexpensive and nontoxic (from toy store). Once familiar to the method move to artist quality clay (from art store)

Baby Wipes (to smooth finger prints on clay AND also takes off most of the clay residue off hands)

Plastic or Wooden Modeling Tools

*If money is a problem, you can use different things around the house to model and sculpt the clay


Tooth Pick

Popsicle Stick

Items with different texture

Small, White Glass or Plastic Beads for Eyes

*You could also use buttons, dried beans, or googlie eye

                       Paint (for putting pupil on the beads for eyes)

Plastic Wrap (keep clay from losing need moisture)

             Container to keep creatures when not in use or done with animation



Introduction to the Lesson:

            The Art of Animation History has been around for a long time. Some of these are telling a story through moving images.  There have been connects from ancient Egyptian was drawings back in 2000 B.C. that look like what we would call comic strips now.  A connect can also be made to Leonardo da Vinci's "Vitruvian Man" is early form of showing motion as the arms and legs would move. Many people in history have always tried to capture movement in their artwork. But in order to achieve animation there needed to be an understanding of how the human eye works. The first step towards the animation that we know today came by a Frenchman, Paul Roget in 1828 created an invention called the thaumatrope. This item as simply on a disc with a string or peg attached to both sides. For example, there is an image of a bird on one side and an image of a cage on the other. When twirling the string or sticks, to the eye it looks like bird is in the cage. Around that some time, two other inventions come along that also helped the exploration of animation. In 1826, Joseph Plateau invented the phenakistoscope (a circular card with slits around the edge, using a mirror the viewer looked thought the slits at the card and as the object moving). Later in 1860, Pierre Desvignes used a simple idea to create is zoetrope (inserting a paper strip into a drum like cylinder and twirled, the view looked thought the slits at the top of the drum to see the animation).

            With the invention of the motion camera and projector by Thomas Edison, it opened a wider field of possibilities for animation. Stuart Blackton in 1906 make a film where he drew faces on a blackboard and photographed them, and erased them and would draw the next stage of the expression. This would later be known as "stop-motion animation".  In the 1920's animated illustrations came out to over power the old ways, like Winsor McCay's "Gertie the Dinosaur" (1914) and Otto Messmer's "Felix the Cat" (1913).  Once these were used as a mere form of entertainment would later become a means of propaganda in the World Wars.  After the 1920's, Animation takes off with a bang. People like Walt Disney come into the picture and gives us wonder animated stories like "Steam Boat Willie".  Warner Brother's would be right behind Disney in creating cartoon animations for people to fall in love with.

            After about 60 years or so of hand-drawn animation, the first full computer animation film comes out by Pixar and Disney,  "Toy Story" (1995). Animation in the form of the method of using a computer has now been very popular in the last 15 years. Many more films have been released with using this technique. There have even been some that have used live action and animation to create films. But all of these are doing one main thing and that is to tell a story using artistic means and animation. With the knowledge of how to use Photoshop and your own creative power of creating a story, you will come up with your own animation to tell the story.



Instructional Procedure for Art Making:

Class 1:  The students will be given an introduction to claymation including a brief history of claymation and the animators that work with this medium.  Several examples will be shown to show the different technical skills and levels of animation.


Class 2: There will be a demo of how to do claymation. The demo will include: modeling characters, changing positions, and tools used in the animation process.

The class will be presented with several options of stories that they will animate as a whole class (keep in mind what they might be doing in other classes that would be able to tie in with them). The class will be broken up into groups of 3 to 4 students. These groups will be used during the animation process.


Class 3: Actual animation will take place during this class time. Student groups that are not working on the animation at the time will be working on creating their own storyboard ideas for the story. Students will take turns at the capture station, when not at the capture station, students will continue to create their own story boards  for the story.


Class 4: The animation process will continue, students will take turns at the capture station, when not at the capture station, students will continue to create their own story boards for the story.


Class 5: Animation will continue, but today will be the last day. As a class, students will take a vote on what sort of music should maybe accompany their animation. Outside of class, the teacher will take all still images and render into a movie using Photoshop or iMovie HD (depending on what is available.


Class 6: There will be a viewing of the class animation and there will also be time to share everyone's storyboards. Students will be asked to comment both on the animation and also the work of their classmates on their storyboards.



On the last day of the class students will take part in a critique and showing of all of the movies that were created in the last several class times. Students will be graded and evaluated on how well they met the requirements and have kept in focused in class and also how they participate in critique.


DBEA Checklist

Art Production: Student create as a class a claymation animation and will create their own storyboards.

Aesthetics: Students will be asked to use clay to create and tell the story using different techniques

Art History: Students will learn the history behind animation and claymation.

Art Criticism: Students will take part in a final critique of storyboards and viewing of animation.





My YouTube Channel



My Blog (Links)




"History of Animation The Early Years: Before Disney" Patrick James. 15 December 2009.



"A Rather Incomplete But Still Fascinating History of Animation" Dan McLaughlin. 2001. 15 December 2009. <http://animation.filmtv.ucla.edu/NewSite/WebPages/Histories.html>







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