Part 1: Introduction to Animation

Note: These recommended Web sites have been checked for availability and for advertising and other inappropriate content. Because Web sites' policies and content change frequently, however, we suggest that you preview the sites shortly before using them.

Activity 1A.1: Why Animation?

Students may be familiar with a variety of animated movies. You can show students:

  • classic movies, such as Snow White or Bambi
  • contemporary movies that are considered classics, such as Toy Story or Mulan
  • movies that have been released in the last year or two that students may have seen in theaters

Activity 1A.2: Animating a Penny

Various software programs can be used to create stop-motion animations, including the following.

Frame by Frame

Note: If you use iMovie, you may need to disable transitions that are automatically applied when still photographs are played.


Stop Motion Pro

Activity 1A.3: Seeing the Principles of Animation at Work

Any of the classic Disney animated movies should incorporate the animation principles discussed in this activity. Some examples are listed below.
Lady and the Tramp
Sleeping Beauty (used for sample analyses in unit)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Activity 1A.4: Looking at the Elements of Art and Principles of Design

Sites with Animation Clips

Cartoon Network. Links to clips and full episodes of animated TV shows.

Kids WB. Links to video clips, including clips of classic Looney Tunes cartoons.

PBS Kids. Links to clips and full episodes of animated TV shows.


Wallace and Gromit. Links to clips of stop-motion animation.

Information About Steamboat Willie

Disney: Steamboat Willie

The Encyclopedia of Disney Animated Shorts: Steamboat Willie

YouTube video of Steamboat Willie

Activity 1B: Follow the Bouncing Ball

Rolling or Flipping Drawings

Flipping and Rolling: An Animation Skill

Idleworm Bouncing Ball Tutorial

Video of flipping

Videos of rolling

Software for Creating Pencil Tests
You can use the stop-motion animation software you used in Activity 1A.2 to create pencil tests, using either digital photographs of the drawings or scanned images. Other programs that you can use to create pencil tests are listed below.


Toonboom Pencil Check Pro

Software to Make 2-D Digital Animations
Adobe Flash


Pencil (free)