I teach third grade and I thought it would be fun and engaging to have the students create some simple stop motion videos to reinforce concepts in science. I have a new digital camcorder and I know I want to do things like plant life cycle, pollination, etc. Any ideas on how to get it done? Does anyone have examples that they could share? Thanks!! :)

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You can do this with a regular still camera by just taking still frame photos periodically, and then stringing together all the jpgs into a movie (using something like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.)

To do stop motion -- like claymation -- you move the object a bit, take a photo, move the object, take a photo, etc. To do time lapse, you take a series of periodic photos (for example, every minute) of something that is moving or changing over time. Here are a few examples:



This page has some good info too: http://www.zardec.net.au/keith/lapse2.htm
Last year my Grade 9s did some neat videos with Lego people, really cheap web cams (in place of the digital camera. They're way cheaper) and Stop Motion Animator, a wonderful free program that works fairly intuitively. They stitched their separate clips together with something like Windows Movie Maker.
Are you thinking stop animation or time lapse? If you're thinking the latter and using a mac, you can download Gawker, which turns your webcam into a time-lapse camera.
I have done claymation using StopMotion Animator (a freeware) -- as noted by James -- and it works fine. If you use MovieMaker for editing, however, you may need a free Codec program to be able to import the raw video files. I use Xdiv because, again, it is free and easy to install.

Here is blog site from a summer camp I ran for middle school students -- http://masswp.org/claycamp/

And here is a guide I made for some teachers about the steps I followed: http://dogtrax.googlepages.com/animationcampoverview

One interesting way to get them engaged is to download and use Pivot Stickman -- another freeware that kids LOVE to use and really shows them a frame-by-frame view of making a very small movie.

Good luck
The stopmotion software runs with a Webcam.
Not sure about a digital videorecorder.
Great discussion; great resources. Thanks for starting this, Karen! I'm going to give this discussion's link to the kids in my class so that they can explore the references. This is such a rich example of new education: people handing around tools and talking about them. (Hmmm... is that new, or is that old, as in ancient?) Powerful modeling for active learners. Learning that extends both outwards and inwards simultaneously, like learning a new language. (and beyond all that, it's fun!)
Do you have another link for the stop motion animator? That one isn't working...
I think the site is gummed up right now.
Try tomorrow.
It worked fine this morning when I checked it.
Thanks to everyone for all the links! I have asked this same question on a a couple other "tech" boards for computer teachers and many weren't even sure what I was talking about. yikes! I am not using a Mac, so I will be using Moviemaker to string the pics together. I guess I will just have to play with it a little this weekend. I found some great examples to show my class by searching "Claymation" on TeacherTube.com. I can't wait to get started and see what my kids can come up with!
I came across this blog article a while back. It might have useful information for you.
Thank you! :) Everyone has been very helpful.
We do stop motion in our digital art club w/ Claymation or any other type of stop motion effect. While imovie works great, especially imovie 08, Frames is a program made specifically for stop motion, and you can purchase a complete claymation kit for a very reasonable price http://tech4learning.com/frames/index.html I'll post some stop motion examples soon.



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