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Cartoon Builder: Lesson 3

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Lesson Plan 3: Create “Dancing Pictures”


Cartoons are like dancing pictures. When you dance, you move your body through a set of poses. Each pose is a little bit different from the one before it. When you make a cartoon, you draw a set of picture poses where each one is just a little bit different than the one before it. Flipping through all the pictures quickly creates the illusion of movement.


6 index cards (or one piece of paper cut into 6 pieces) Pencil, crayon or marker


  1. Think of a dance (or an exercise or a silly movement) with six poses.
  2. Slowly demonstrate the poses of that dance for your class. Then do the dance faster. (If you prefer, you could ask a volunteer from the class to demonstrate the dance.)
  3. Invite the whole class to get up and try the dance. Remind them to think about each of the poses as they dance.
  4. After a few minutes of dancing, ask everyone sit back down.
  5. Now take out a pencil and six index cards.
  6. Draw a stick figure doing each pose on separate index cards.
  7. Act out each pose to help other students draw.
  8. Put your 6 cards into a stack and either staple it or hold it tightly by the upper left corner.
  9. You can make the cartoon stick figure “dance”, by holding the book on the stapled edge with you left hand and flipping the lower left corner of the stack with your right thumb.
  10. Flipping the images trick your eye! It seems like the stick person dances, but it is an illusion caused by looking at the pictures quickly.
  11. Customize your cartoon flipbooks further by coloring them or adding more poses.

Alternative to dancing:

Try acting out the movements of a non-human character, like a frog hopping. Perform these movements for your class and have them guess who your character might be.