Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Arts, Media & Entertainment

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Mike Morris

Introduction to Animation

Part of Unit: Animation Process

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

This lesson provides a one-hour student exploration of the history of animation and animation terms such as:

  • Persistence of Vision
  • Apparent Motion
  • Hand-drawn Animation
  • Cel Animation
  • Stop-Motion Animation
  • Computer-Assisted Animation

and Explores beginning steps at character drawing and beginning storyboarding.

This lesson could be used as the first lesson of a semester or year-long animation curriculum.

Lesson Time

Introductory 1.5 hour lesson
90 Minutes


Objectives and Goals

  • Students will develop an understanding of the types of Animation, both historical and contemporary, and use this knowledge to determine which types of animation they prefer to work with.
  • Students will practice with character development
  • Students will practice with a simple 4-cell storyboard to create a story line about a character looking at him/herself in the mirror

Activities in this Lesson

  • During the first 10 minutes of class, Teacher will show various short animation clips to illustrate simple animation story lines, using files from the resource section:

    • ShortRun (29 seconds)
    • Animator vs. Animation
    • Animator vs. Animation II

    Teacher will ask each student to name thier favorite childhood cartoon and/or their favorite cartoon character, and ask them WHY...

    Teacher will explain that animation is doing a lot of simple things - ONE at a time, strung together in a sensible order.

    Resources and Materials

  • 20 Minutes

    Teacher will explain the historical origins of animation dating from ancient history to modern-day history, using the attached excerpt from the Animator's Kit.

    Resources and Materials

    • animators.kit.animationhistory.pdf [ Download ] Animator's Kit excerpt on the History of Animation (lecture notes)
  • 20 minutes

    Teacher will introduce Class worksheet on history and types of animation - Page 1

    Teacher will read sections 1 and 2 and check for student understanding of these parts of the worksheet assignment.

    Students will perform internet research to complete sections 1 & 2 of the worksheet.

    Worksheet and Key may be found in the Class resources




  • 20 minutes

    Teacher will ask the class to again form a list of favorite cartoon characters and choose a student to record data on the whiteboard.

    Students will brainstorm character ideas and complete section 3 (page 1), drawing at LEAST two character ideas in the cells provided.

    Resources and Materials

  • 5 Minutes

    Teacher will   ask two volunteer-students to perform a pantomime experiment where one student exactly mirrors the movement of the second student in front of the class.

    15 Minutes

    Teacher explains page 2 of the handout and shows the Animationexamples file

    Resources and Materials

    • animationexamples.swf [ View Flash ] [ Download ] Walk-cycle and Stick Figure Mirror storyline demonstrations
  • Review Closure

    Teacher asks students to show their work and offer critical analysis of each other's student work.


Assessment Types:
Journals, Writing Samples, Demonstrations, Portfolios, Observations,

Students will complete a Hand-out on Animation definitions, rudimentary character development, and rudimentary storyboarding.

  • animationexamples.swf animationexamples.swf [ View Flash ] [ Download ] Flash Animation demonstrating Possible Mirror/Character Sequence
  • animationbeg.activity.pdf animationbeg.activity.pdf [ Download ] Student Worksheet
  • animationbeg.activity.key.pdf animationbeg.activity.key.pdf [ Download ] Answer Key