STEM has always been a major part of our homeschool curriculum. As my children have gotten older, their interests have only strengthened in relation to math and sciences. They have both expressed an interest in computer programming and we have dabbled a little with different curricula (Homeschool Programming) and online resources (Khan Academy).
In addition to computer programming, my daughter has also become interested in digital animation and graphic art. For Christmas she received a Wacom tablet and has spent many hours learning how to create elaborate graphics. Her work has even won two different t-shirt design contests!
She also loves Japanese anime – some of her favorites are Sword Art Online, Hunter X Hunter, and Fairy Tale. It was no surprise when she expressed interest in learning how to animate her own illustrations.
We were thereby very excited to learn of Pixar in a Box, a collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy, This free course sponsored by Disney, is a series of video lessons, interactive exercises, and hands-on activities.
The course materials will enable students to discover how the academic concepts they learn in school enable Pixar filmmakers to create new worlds, animate unique characters and tell stories through animation. Although designed especially for students in middle and high school, these resources are available to learners of all ages, completely free of charge.
There are presently six topics in the course:
- Environment Modeling
- Character Modeling
- Sets & Staging
Each topic begins with a design focused lesson that doesn’t require math concepts beyond the elementary level. The goal is for people of all ages try these lessons – to first get you creating things with interactive tools while exposing the connections to mathematics.
The second lesson dives deeper into the concepts involved and are designed to increase in difficulty so that students can attempt more advanced material. Each lesson is designed to take approximately one hour to complete and includes hands-on activities to extend the lesson.
What I love best about Khan Academy is that the course material is self-paced. We can pick up a lesson at any time and work through the material at a pace with which we are comfortable. There is no deadline and thereby no pressure.
We look forward to integrating this course into our curriculum more fully in the near future. She’s already begun a story board for an animated show of her own.