Khan Academy Pixar in a Box
Khan Academy launches Pixar in a Box, a behind-the-scenes look at
Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process
Free online curriculum shows how Pixar filmmakers use science, technology, engineering, art and math to create movie magic
Being a teacher I always loved to implement fun things into the everyday classroom routine. But sometimes you have to search far and wide to make the fun stuff happen. But with the help of Pixar and Khan Academy fun can happen in the classroom anytime. This new online resource allows you to explore the academic concepts behind Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process.
Children have grown up with Pixar’s characters, movies and fun and this will allow them to relate to the subjects and the real life making it even more valuable for teachers today. I believe that implementing this technology into classrooms kids will learn to think outside the box and allow them to see how hard Pixar filmmakers work to create the worlds they create.
But the best part is that the behind the scenes of the creative process is now available on KhanAcademy.org and it’s FREE!! Which is something that fits every teacher’s budget. Through a series of video lessons, interactive exercises, and hands-on activities, students will discover how the academic concepts they learn in school enable Pixar filmmakers to create new worlds, animate unique characters and tell stories through animation. Although designed especially for students in middle and high school, these resources are available to learners of all ages, completely free of charge.
I believe that this would also be a great way to encourage those earlier finishers to keep learning and challenge their brains which could be a huge benefit to even elementary teachers. Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Khan Academy said,
“Our mission at Khan Academy is a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” said “Sparking student interest in math and other academic fields is a key part of that, and we’re delighted to collaborate with Pixar to achieve this goal. Pixar in a Box gives students a new way to engage with key academic concepts and see how creative these concepts can be.”
“Learning makes us beginners again,” said Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “In my experience, creativity involves missteps and imperfections, which is one more reason it is important for every one of us to keep learning – in order to remain flexible and keep our brains nimble. By working with Khan Academy on Pixar in a Box, we hope to encourage the excitement of learning and creative thinking for middle and high school students and to provide the tools to do it.”
“For years, we’ve heard from teachers at every grade level interested in creating animation-based curricula,” said Elyse Klaidman, Director, Pixar University and Archives. “We’ve wanted to provide free online resources for them, and Pixar in a Box makes that dream a reality. We hope that it not only gives students a behind-the-scenes look at how our movies are made but also gets them excited about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) concepts.”
Khan and Catmull officially unveiled Pixar in a Box at a special event yesterday evening on the Pixar campus in Emeryville, CA. After an introduction from Klaidman, local educators learned the story behind the project and then received a live demonstration of Pixar in a Box from two of its creators – Brit Cruise, Content Producer at Khan Academy, and Tony DeRose, Senior Scientist and Research Group Lead at Pixar. The evening concluded with a question-and-answer session moderated by Klaidman.
“Many students start to lose interest in academics in middle and high school, partly because they don’t see how academic concepts relate to things they care about,” said DeRose. “Pixar in a Box aims to address this disconnect by showing how Pixar filmmakers use these concepts for creative benefit in their everyday work.”
Starting today, students can access Pixar in a Box and learn:
· How combinatorics are used to create crowds, like the swarm of robots in WALLE.
· How parabolas are used to model environments, like the forest in Brave.
· How weighted averages are used to create characters, like Buzz Lightyear and Woody.
· How linear and cubic interpolation are used to animate characters.
· How trigonometry is used to create the worlds in which Pixar stories take place.
· How simultaneous equations are used to paint all of Pixar’s images.
“These lessons are the first phase of the project,” said Cruise. “While the first year focuses on math, future Pixar in a Box lessons will explore science, computer science, arts, and humanities.” So I hope that every teacher uses this to their advantage and helps kids bring more to life!
******All Pixar in a Box resources are available free of charge at PixarInABox.org. The site will be updated as additional lessons become available.