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3rd, 4th, 5th




50 minutes

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, New Jersey


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Climate Animations and Stop Motion Techniques (Animate for the Animals #3)

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Dec 4, 2022


In this lesson, students watch videos and learn about photography to implement photography techniques in their stop motion projects.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students watch stop motion animation videos about climate change to identify techniques. 

Step 2 - Investigate: Students view photographs to learn about varying photography techniques to use in their stop motion projects. 

Step 3 - Inspire: Students complete the Stop Motion Plan Review, adding photography techniques and other details to their plan.


  • The photography and stop motion video examples are all related to climate change to spark intrigue and start discussions.
  • There is deep learning about photography techniques.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This is lesson 3 of 4 in our 3rd-5th grade Animate for the Animals unit.
  • The teacher will need to organize worksheets for students.
  • The teacher will need to ensure that there are devices available if the Investigate section is done individually or in small groups.


  • Student partners could be chosen by the teacher to ensure good academic and social balance.
  • Students could explore the Investigate section in groups instead of having the teacher lead the discussion. The whole class could come back together to discuss their new knowledge after the groups are finished.

This lesson focuses on photographic stop motion animation techniques. Climate change can be a part of this lesson. All materials used in the lesson have been verified and are suitable for teaching. In this light, this lesson is credible and recommended for the classroom.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Visual & Performing Arts
    • Media Arts: Standard 1 - Generating and conceptualizing ideas.
      • 1.2.5.Cr1a: Generate ideas for media artwork, using a variety of tools, methods and/or materials.
      • 1.2.5.Cr1d: Collaboratively form ideas, plans, and models to prepare for media artwork.
    • Media Arts: Standard 2 - Organizing and developing ideas.
      • 1.2.5.Cr2c: Brainstorm goals and plans for a media art audience.
    • Media Arts: Standard 3 - Refining and completing products.
      • 1.2.5.Cr3c: Explore how elements and components can be altered for clear communication and intentional effects, point of view, perspective, and refine media artworks to improve clarity and purpose.
    • Media Arts: Standard 4 - Selecting, analyzing, and interpreting work.
      • 1.2.5.Pr4a: Practice combining various academic arts, media forms, and content into unified media artworks such as animation, music, and dance.
    • Media Arts: Standard 7 - Perceiving and analyzing products.
      • 1.2.5.Re7b: Identify, describe, explain and differentiate how various forms, methods, and styles in media artworks affect and manage audience experience when addressing global issues including climate change.
  • Students review the meaning of stop motion and learn the new word composition.
  • Students watch the stop motion videos Penguin and Oil and Climate Change Is Not Fun and rewatch the video Plastic Riptide.
  • Students discuss the meaning of the videos and evaluate the effectiveness of the stop motion techniques.
  • Teacher explains that stop motion animation requires good photography techniques to create an effective product.
  • Teacher uses the photographs and information on the Teacher Slideshow to discuss with students camera angle, lighting, rule of odds, and rule of thirds.
    • Camera angle basics:
      • The position you hold the camera affects the way your viewer sees the photo.
      • If your camera is held up high, your photo subjects look small.
      • If your camera is held down low, your photo subjects look very large.
      • If your camera is held at eye level, your viewers can connect with your characters.
    • Lighting basics: 
      • Natural light is the best type for photography beginners.
      • The morning and afternoon are the best times for natural light, as the light is coming from an angle and not overhead.
      • Making sure the source of light is behind your subject will make sure your photos are clear.
      • Investigating the effects of light are best done with your camera by trying different lighting situations.
    • Rule of odds basics:
      • Finding an odd number of focus points for your photography is more visually appealing to the viewer.
    • Rule of thirds basics:
      • Divide your image into thirds, both vertically and horizontally.
      • Most cameras, iPads, and phones have this setting in the camera settings.
      • Place your subject at or near the intersecting lines to build composition.
      • You might choose to place your subject on the left or the right of the center frame.
      • Placing focus points (e.g., eyes) on the lines helps draw attention to them.
  • Students either use devices to access the photography collection The Urgency of Awe: 10 Striking Photos of Nature as the World Faces Climate Crises or the teacher shares the collection to the whole class.
  • Students complete a silent viewing of the photos using "Think About" prompts from the Teacher Slideshow.
  • Teacher uses ‘"Talk It Out" strategy to share ideas throughout the viewing by using the following steps:
    • Teacher calls out "Talk It Out" at random points in the activity.
    • Students discuss the photograph with a partner.
    • The discussion should include:
      • The photography techniques used
      • The message of the photo
      • Students' likes and dislikes

  • Students return to their stop motion animation groups from the previous lesson. 
  • Students revise their stop motion animation plans and use the Stop Motion Plan Review to add details about what photography techniques they are going to add for a more effective stop motion animation.


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