Animation at its Finest

The “Battle of Black Friday” was heatedly taking place in teacher Dennis Matuch’s technology class. It was the red versus blue team with a green decoy who provided comic relief. Max Lieber, 12, and his teammates created animated robots in their Stop Motion class where objects were competing over a television on Black Friday since it was going for such a good price.


Their animated project was part of the Hawthorn Middle School North’s related arts rotation where all students try their hand at creating characters out of clay and move them around a stage to create a number of frames that result in an animated movie.


“The class requires students to do a lot of creative thinking,” Mr. Matuch said. “Students must work as a team to develop a story line, plot, characters, setting, and conflict that the characters must overcome. In the past, we have focused on the retelling of Aesop fables using claymation as a way to integrate and reinforce what they were learning about fables in their language arts curriculum. This year, I thought it would be more fun and more valuable to see what kind of stories students could come up with from their own imaginations,” he said. Students came up with stories about flying pigs, battles and soccer games.


“While it is hopeful that some students are inspired to pursue a career in the field of animation, all students are offered the chance to take part in a fun and memorable project that addresses Illinois State Standards that focus on solving problems, communicating, using technology and working on teams,” Mr. Matuch said.