Math Central
Grade 4, Chapter 12 Investigation Organizer:
Making Movies


Summary: A cartoon, or animated movie, is made up of single pictures called frames. One second of a cartoon contains 24 frames. When the frames are shown on a movie screen, the pictures seem to move. You and your group can plan your own two-minute animated movie.

Decide on a topic for your movie. Then decide how long each scene might last. Figure out how many drawings, or frames, you will need for each scene. Create a flip book showing part of the plan for your movie.


1. Plan It

A. Pick a subject. Discuss subjects for your movie. Remember, it will only be 2 minutes long. Make a list of possible topics for the movie.

B. List the shots. Make a list of each scene you want to show.

C. Leave time for titles and credits. Allow time to show the title of your movie. Also allow time for the ending credits -- the names of the people who created the movie.

[Checkbox] Film outline planned


2. Put It Together

A. Get in the right frame of mind. Remember that an animator needs 24 frames of drawings for every second that passes in the film.

B. Find how many frames to draw. Calculate how many frames you need for each scene. Multiply the number of seconds for each scene by 24.

C. Plan the work. Make a chart showing the number of scenes, frames, and seconds per frame, that you will need to create your film. Use the chart on page 443 of the Math Central textbook as a guide, or view and print the Film Production Chart here on Education Place.

[Checkbox] Our movie planning completed


3. Wrap It Up

A. Make a scene. Design and draw a flipbook for one scene. Draw several pictures of an action taking place. For example, show a character bouncing to the top of a building. The drawing following the previous frame will change only a very small amount. Suppose the scene contains 480 frames. It would last only 20 seconds.

B. Track your work. Number each frame in the order they will be seen. Stack them with the lowest number on the bottom, and the highest number on top.

C. Review your first scene. Flip the pictures from bottom to top to see your movie in action. You may want to hold the flipbook against a table top.

[Checkbox] Flipbook for the first scene completed


4. Discuss Your Results

[Checkbox] Review completed


Return to Investigation Page.


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