ITEEA The Elementary STEM Journal, Vol. 23, Issue 4
PublisherInternational Technology and Engineering Educators Association, Reston
ReleasedMay 1, 2019
The Elementary STEM Journal, Volume 23, Issue 4 - May, 2019

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Activity – Elementary Animators: Animation Adventureland: Animation Principles of Timing and Anticipation

Elementary Animators

Animation Adventureland: Animation Principle of Squash and Stretch and Animation Principle of Arcanimation journal cover 4.19.jpg

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 4 and 5 today and complete the activity at the end of each chapter.

Animation Adventureland

Chapter 4 - Animation Principle of Timing

Miss Petunia knew just where to take them next. She led them over the hill and into an open field. The birds chirped and Pocket squeaked back at them.

“Now for the fourth trial, you two must understand Timing.” Miss Petunia handed them lots of paper and crayons. Then with a wave of her wand, clouds began to float across the sky as if a great gust of wind had pushed them. “With Timing, the more clouds you draw the slower they will move. If you draw fewer clouds then they will get faster and faster! Let’s see you draw them. First they should move slowly and then grow quicker. Good luck, I know this one is tricky!”

Millie and Matias exchanged looks of excitement.

“Why don’t you draw the clouds moving slowly and I’ll draw them getting quicker?” Millie asked. “I think I should just draw fewer clouds than you.”

Matias furiously colored his pages without acknowledging Millie. He appeared too excited to listen.

Millie drew a series of four clouds spread across the page to show how they move quickly. Yet Matias also drew four clouds in nearly the same position. Once finished they called Miss Petunia over to check their work. Matias handed his drawing to Miss Petunia first and then Millie handed over her clouds.ch4_scene-300-med.jpg

Miss Petunia eyed their drawings.

“The clouds moving quickly look great! But I think your clouds moving slowly could use some work. Why don’t you try again?” Miss Petunia nodded encouragingly. “Keep your eyes on the clouds and how they move in the sky,” she smiled.

Millie thought about how to fix Matias’s clouds. Eventually she realized the solution was simple! All they had to do was draw more clouds closer to one another, as the more clouds there are, the slower the drawing will appear to move.

“I know just what to do,” Millie said.

“I know we can do it!” Matias exclaimed.

And that was just what they did. Together, they drew a series of ten clouds in a single line. Soon, Miss Petunia came to check their work. First it was Matias’s drawing, depicting the clouds moving slowly and then Millie showed her clouds speeding up.

“Amazing! I can tell you two worked really hard on Timing. I can’t wait to see how you two take on the next challenge!” Miss Petunia gave them a high five.

Student Activity

Now you try! Can you fix this drawing to make it appear as if the clouds are moving faster?


Chapter 5 - Animation Principle of Anticipation

Miss Petunia decided to keep Matias and Millie in the same field for their next challenge.

“Now for the fifth trial, I must see you two master Anticipation. You must work together to see the movements leading up to a jump. Matias can you jump up and down for me?” Miss Petunia asked and Matias crouched down and then jumped as high as he could! “In order to understand Anticipation, I must see you draw a series of movements that depict Matias jumping. The Anticipation of the jump is what I will focus on. Have fun!”

And with that, Miss Petunia left them to work on their drawings.ch5_scene-300-med.jpg

Matias giggled as he jumped up and down for Millie to draw.

“If I draw you standing and then in the air, it should be perfect!” She said and then did just that.

She drew Matias in standing position and then way up in the sky! But for some reason it didn’t quite look right.

Miss Petunia came over to check their work.

“Hmmm. Could use some more parts. You’re missing the crucial Anticipation of the jump. Right now it looks as if Matias is just flying away, rather than jumping into the air. Here I’ll give you a quick hint. It’s similar to Squash and Stretch.” Miss Petunia’s brows rose at the challenge.

“Squash and Stretch?” Millie scratched her head in confusion. “What could that possibly mean?”

“Here, I have an idea!” Matias smiled. “Can you jump for me and I’ll draw you?” Millie nodded and began to jump for him.

Matias drew Millie crouching, in a standing position, and lastly jumping in the air. After finishing, he ran over to show Miss Petunia his hard work.

“Looks good to me, but can you point out the point of Anticipation?” Miss Petunia asked.

Matias pointed to where Millie is crouched. “It’s right here!      

“Great, the Anticipation is in the crouch! It shows the viewer that Millie is about to take off into the air. Wonderful job, you two, and great teamwork!” 

Student Activity

Now it’s time for you to try! Lets see you draw somebody giving a high five with anticipation.


Douglas Lecorchick, Ed.D., is a 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