Inventors, Coders and Animators, oh my!

BY Nancy vonWahlde

Eddy Elementary

Project Description

The goal for using the proposed materials is to add curricular and arts integrated STEM experiences to students in after-school groups and during the school day. As the technology integration specialist and computer lab teacher, I have experienced how these engaging technology applications are highly motivating to students when asked to explain their thinking and to persevere to solve problems and improve their original work and learning.

The requested materials will be utilized regularly by students in an after-school group (approx 14 students per session) where students create stop-motion animation videos, custom code adventures and projects for a robot, and use circuitry kits to animate their own inventions. This after-school activity occurs 3 times each year.

The circuitry and coding kits and video tools will also be available during the school day. For example, to allow fourth grade students to animate an invention during their inventions unit. The lens and lighting kits will benefit all students who are using either stop-motion or green screen video to bring life to an original story or nonfiction report created in the regular classroom.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)

The project will be gauged successful with the increased use of coding and digital animation by students during the school day. With increased experience and expertise, students will be able to more easily harness coding and digital animation to demonstrate learning, supplement original creations and innovate in the regular classroom. I believe this will in turn, encourage teachers who are less comfortable with technology to welcome student expression and learning with technology more often.

Student work from the after-school groups will be shared on my lab website at
Teachers will be able to share student work with parents through website or email.

Benefit to the students and the school

Projects involving digital animation (stop-motion, green screen) and coding (games, animations and to control actual objects) are highly beneficial opportunities for students to engage in innovation, engineering, problem-solving, storytelling and science. As these technologies are used more frequently, they are more easily integrated into everyday classroom expressions of learning and creativity.

Eddy Elementary provides students with iPads, apps, software and desktop computers. We have a green screen set and iPad tripod for use in the classroom and after-school. We’ve gathered art materials and old playthings for our current after-school activity of stop-motion animation. Last year third grade students used a green screen iPad app in the classroom to share their learning about life in Colonial days and fourth grade students about wildlife and erosion issues in the Great Bay. During my after-school groups, students learned to code original animations and games. This year my after-school students will have the opportunity to create original stories through stop-motion animation and by coding animations and games. With your help, I will extend these activities both after-school and during the school day to include coding and circuitry that can animate inventions, tell stories, and bring their coding commands to real objects.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)

For after-school groups the tools will be used for (minimum) 3 sessions of 6-weeks each session. These resources will be available for use in all classrooms and the computer lab throughout the school year.