One of my all-time favorite tech coaching experiences was helping an eighth grade science class produce short animations to explain forms of energy. It was one of my favorite experiences for two reasons. First, the teacher came to me and said, “I’m sick of boring PowerPoints. Get them to do anything else.” Second, the kids really grabbed onto the project and were excited to work on it. In the end, everyone was happy with the project.
Creating simple animations to illustrate understanding of concepts isn’t limited to eighth grade science classes. It can be done by just about anyone in just about any context. That’s kind of the idea behind Dan Roam’s book The Back of the Napkin and it’s the idea behind my upcoming Making and Teaching With Animated Explanations course.
To give some ideas of how animated explanations might be used in your classroom, here are five things students can explain with simple animations.
Expansion and contraction of geopolitical borders over time.Steps to solve real world math problems like calculating the height of a tree.How plants grow from seeds.Literary concepts like foreshadowing, personification, or paradox.How satellites stay in orbit.