ITEEA The Elementary STEM Journal, Vol. 23, Issue 3
PublisherInternational Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Reston
ReleasedMarch 1, 2019
The Elementary STEM Journal, Volume 23, Issue 3 - March, 2019

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Elementary Animators: Animation Principle of Squash and Stretch and Animation Principle of Arc

Elementary Animatorscover Animation 2019 January.jpg

Animation Principle of Squash and Stretch and Animation Principle of Arc 
by Douglas Lecorchick, Victoria Anne Hoeveler, and Gianna Mastrandrea


Disney animators, F. Thomas and O. Johnston, circa 1980 developed twelve principles of animation that are still the foundation of animation programs today. These principles can be taught to elementary students, provided the correct platform and pedagogy. This feature provides the platform and the storybook format as the pedagogical approach.

teacher script

Class, today we continue learning about animation. Animation is “bringing to life.” When we draw, either with a pencil and paper or we begin to model using software on a computer to bring those drawings to life, this allows us to become the “Animator.” We will read Chapters 2 and 3 today and complete the activity at the end of each chapter.


Animation Adventureland

Chapter 2 - Animation Principle of Squash and Stretch

Miss Petunia smiled, leading Matias, Millie, and Pocket to a little cabin just past the lake. The cabin was filled with balloons and bouncing balls colored all the shades of the rainbow.

“Now children, time for your second trial of Squash and Stretch,” Miss Petunia said. She began to bounce a ball. “See how the ball moves? It quite literally squashes and stretches as it bounces!” She handed Matias and Millie some chalk. “Now for your trial, I would like to see you draw the same movement.” ch2_scene_textured-300.jpg

Matias and Millie thought long and hard on how to draw the movement of the ball.

“It’s like gravity is pulling the ball down when it hits the ground!” Matias exclaimed.

“We have to show that the rubber is flexible, I suppose,” Millie remarked. “Maybe give me a try?” Millie asked and Matias handed her some chalk.

Millie drew a series of four spheres. The first stood normally, the second stretched upwards into an oval shape, the third went back to its normal standing position, and the fourth squashed into the ground. Millie threw her arms up in excitement and ran to Miss Petunia to check her work.

Miss Petunia assessed Millie’s drawings.

“Very close, but you’re missing just one part,” Miss Petunia said. “Why don’t you have Matias bounce the ball while you’re trying to draw and then just sketch what you see?”

Millie and Matias nodded, ready to take on the challenge!

Matias began to bounce another ball and Millie drew four spheres again. She drew one in a normal position, then one flattened to the ground, the third stretching upwards as it bounced back to the sky, and lastly a sphere back to normal!

“Miss Petunia did we pass the second trial?” Millie and Matias asked in unison.

“You absolutely did! Congratulations, you can move on to the third trial now.” Miss Petunia beamed, proud of them.

Student Activity

Now you try! Can you draw what this piece of jello would look like if it was dropped from a fridge?















Chapter 3 - Animation Principle of Arc

Miss Petunia kept Matias and Millie in the same room for the third trial. Although this time, she took out a box containing blocks.

“Arcs will be your third trial! Just as fun as the others,” Miss Petunia promised. She tossed the block back and forth. “See how the block follows an arc like a rainbow?” Matias and Millie nodded in a ch3_scene-300-med.jpgagreement. “Now for this trial, I would like see how you draw the arc of a moving object! Remember it has to follow a certain path,” Miss Petunia winked.

“We can draw a series of blocks like we did with the ball in Squash and Stretch, don’t you think?” Millie said.

“I don’t see why we couldn’t,” Matias answered.

“Then why don’t you give it a try this time?” Millie encouraged Matias and passed him the chalk.

Matias drew three square blocks. The first stood normally, the second was stationed up and to the right of the first block, and the third moved even farther up! Millie looked over his work, and together they decided it was time to show Miss Petunia.

With a brow raised, Miss Petunia looked over the drawings. “Hmm I think you’re missing some steps,” Miss Petunia corrected. Why don’t you try again? If I were you, I would have Millie help draw more blocks than just three.”

“Okay!” Matias gave her a thumbs up.

Matias began to add more blocks to the drawing as did Millie. Together, they drew them in a pattern, going up and then down. The drawings created the shape of a semicircle when completed. At last they felt ready to tell Miss Petunia!

“Did we pass the third trial? We really feel like we did it right this time!” Matias said. 

“Perfect! The blocks move in a near perfect arc. Can’t wait to see you both complete the fourth trial!” Miss Petunia laughed.

Student Activity

Now it’s time for you to try! Let’s see you draw the arc of a frisbee being tossed to a puppy!













Douglas Lecorchick, Ed.D., is STEM education enthusiast with a calling to facilitate collaboration among professional educators. He can be reached at

Victoria Anne Hoeveler is a junior at North Carolina State University where she studies English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Art Entrepreneurship.

Gianna Mastrandrea is a freshman in computer science at NC State University with a minor in graphic communications. She can be reached at