I’m trying something new with middle school students and I’m definitely taking a risk in pushing storytelling to it’s limits. I’m redesigning my STEAM:Theater class to focus on the following driving question.
“How might I effectively tell a story through motion graphics?”
Students will be learning a professional 3D program called Blender, which is free and downloadable on blender.org. I’ve used Blender in previous compositing projects so teaching the basic framework for motion graphics is pretty straight forward. Blender went through many iteration that now makes it more user friendly. Our students are learning how to model and manipulate meshes, translate/rotate/scale meshes, add texture and material, animate objects using rigging and key-framing, and learning how to render. As I’m writing this blog, I see many connects to 3D animation and STEAM.
- Science: Student have to observe the physics of object and copy how objects move in reality. Students will have to understand bone structure of biped and quadrupeds in order to animate them.
- Technology: Students will be using Blender to communicate a story.
- Engineering: Students will go through the design process of developing a world, characters, and objects. Students will have to make and iterate the scene until the scene components effectively tell a story.
- Art: Students will be using the Heroic Journey Framework to tell a story.
- Math: Students will be using concepts of geometry to scale, rotate, and translate objects on a Cartesian graph in it’s X, Y, and Z axis. Students will have to animate using a timeline and key frames to slow or quicken some movements.
The short video above is a Rube Goldberg machine. Creating this machines was an assessment to see if they know how to model 3D objects, apply material/texture, animate, and render. I was astonished by the work that our students are doing. It takes another level of grit to understand the work flow. Right now I see some students who are proficiently using the tool. Blender has so many features on it and I’ve just started the work digging in to it’s potential power. It’s gonna be an exciting couple years to see what projects come out of this class using Blender as a storytelling tool.