Stop Motion Movies – SCOPES-DF

Lesson Details

Age Ranges
Fab-Safety.1, Fab-Modeling.1, Fab-Fabrication.1, Fab-Design.1
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Kelly Hurn
Kelly Hurn
K-12 teacher
I am the Education Manager at Fab Lab Houston Read More


This is designed as a 3 hour field trip. If you have more time for this activity students can design and 3D print files on their own. Students will use 3D printing, laser cutters, and other fabrication tools to create characters and props for their own stop motion movies.

What You'll Need

Cameras: On a tablet or laptop with the Zoetrope app

The app Zoetrope is available for free in the Microsoft App Store

Colored paper for back drop

laser cutter

3D printer

colored and patterned papers for cutting out props


various toys and items for props- we have wooden letter blocks, playdough, fake foliage, plastic toys, etc….

paper, pens, pencils

painters tape

The Instructions


Students will design their story and sketch out what the basic props and background will look like

Give students pens, pencils, and paper to start drawing out their basic idea. For inspiration you can show them examples of stop motion movies.

During this time, make sure students know that the more pictures they take with less movement between frames will result in a smoother looking movie, whereas larger movements with less pictures will make it look more choppy.

Set Design

Have students start designing their set

Large sheets of paper are best for this part of the activity. Blue paper with white paper clouds, is an easy example. You can use painter’s tape to hold the paper in place without damaging the walls. The painters tape will also help hold any other paper props in place.

Object Design

Students will design objects or characters for their movie

Objects do not need to be large. If students are making props on the laser cutter and 3D printer make sure they keep them at a proper size ratio. For groups with limited time I have the teachers email me files to be 3D printed or laser cut in advance. We encourage outlines only to be cut on the laser cutter as doing engraving can be time consuming and those extra details can be drawn or painted on after cutting.

Open the Zoetrope App

Students can take the photos for their stop motion directly in the app

From the home screen they will click “new project” then on “take photos”. There is an option at the bottom of the screen that will allow them to overlay the first picture so they can see how much their props move from frame to frame and keep it all lined up.

Start Taking Pictures

Have students lay out set and props in front of the lap top and take sequential photos

Students will put their props in the starting position and take a photo. If pleased with the placement, lighting, and composition, they can then move their prop a small amount for the next photo. The smaller the movement, the more pictures they will take leading to a longer movie. Typically a 60 frame stop motion is only 2-3 seconds long.

Finish the Movie

Select photos for the movie

As students take photos in Zoetrope it will save them in a numbered order. Students will click on “Select Photos” to choose the photos for their movie.


  • (Fab-Safety.1): I can safely conduct myself in a Fab Lab and observe operations under instructor guidance.
  • (Fab-Modeling.1): I can arrange and manipulate simple geometric elements, 2D shapes, and 3D solids using a variety of technologies.
  • (Fab-Fabrication.1): I can follow instructor guided steps that link a software to a machine to produce a simple physical artifact.
  • (Fab-Design.1): I can be responsible for various activities throughout a design process within a group under instructor guidance.

Lesson Feedback

One Response

  1. LizWhitewolf January 11, 2021
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