Stop Motion Animation Success!

Stop Motion Animation at the Dodgeville Public Library

Carol Gleichauf, Children’s Librarian

I have collaborated with UW-Extension Iowa County staff Debra Ivey and Ruth Schriefer on various projects over the last few years.  When the Makerspace grant rolled out, I invited them to attend the showcase at SWLS with me and we picked out some kits for use with children in our library.

Most recently, we used the Stop Motion Animation with two groups of students – 3 Iowa County 4-Hers and 6 Dodgeville elementary children. Our plans were grandiose and as we started our preparations, reality set in.  Rather than a 3-part series with the same group of students, we figured out that one 90-minute session would be fine and that our original plan for each student to produce a 2-2 ½ minute video featuring a children’s book from the library would need to be replaced with a Stop Motion illustration of a page from a children’ book.  It was important to us to tie the kit/technology with literacy.  The results are quick videos with about 100-150 frames for each.

The 4-Hers and the other children LOVED the project.  The 4-Hers each created their own videos while the other children worked in pairs. They were all familiar and comfortable with the Mini iPads (unlike Ruth and me) and a couple of them had tried Stop Motion before.  They were diligent in creating their scenes and spent LOTS of time with Legos, Play-Doh, paper and markers. They learned about attention to detail and that small movements could help or hinder their project.

The equipment & directions provided in the kits helped stimulate our creativity and give us ideas for the participants.  Be sure to practice with the Mini iPads, the Stop Motion app, the “stage”, etc. before you share it with a group and then you can continue to learn together.

Our movies will also be featured on YouTube. Also, remember to log off the Mini iPads before sending them on to the next library.


A fifth grade class from Boscobel Elementary School is wowed by the Makerbot Mini 3-D printer
A fifth grade class from Boscobel Elementary School is wowed by the Makerbot Mini 3-D printer during a visit in December. The students asked loads of questions about the machine, how the objects are designed and what kinds of things can be printed. Many kids were anxious to try out a design for themselves, so we are very much looking forward to getting the 3-D kit back next September
Boscobel Kids Check Out 3-D Printing
Another class of students visiting the library trying to guess what would be printed next! They were so happy to actually see a 3-D printer in action; they’d heard there was one at the high school, but no one wanted to have to wait until 9th grade to get to see  and try one out!

Boscobel Public Library staff and patrons had an amazing adventure with the 3-D Printer Kit! Several different elementary school classes got to see the machine working, and it was also a big hit at out Holiday Open House, helping us to deliver the message that today’s library is a place  discover & create new ideas, information and cutting edge technology!

Barneveld Stop Motion Mayhem

We recently held a Early Release Maker-space Day event using the stop motion animation kit.  The attendance wasn’t great, but the participants LOVED it!

After looking briefly at all the apps loaded on the iPads, I decided to have all the kids use the Stop Motion Pro app, so I would only have to learn to use one.  It took about an hour to set up the room and learn how to use the app.  I set up four stations, supplementing the kit with the library’s iPad and stop motion software on a laptop used with a camera.  Most kids used the iPads, but one was really excited about using the camera and (much clunkier) software.

I enticed the kids by telling them I would put the videos on Youtube.  It was surprisingly easy to create a channel and upload the videos from the iPads.  Check out my favorite!

We’ll have to do this again, because it was really cool and we all learned a lot!

Mobile Makerspace Supplies

There are a limited number of supplies at SWLS for the various kits. Contact SWLS staff if any of the following supplies need to be replenished.

Drawing Pads – Drawing/Calligraphy/Painting kit
Brush set-24 piece – Drawing/Calligraphy/Painting kit
Needles – Sewing Machine kit
Play-Doh – Stop Motion Animation kit
Light bulbs – Stop Motion Animation kit
Jumper wires – Circuit kit
Filament – 3D Printers kit
Stamp pads(orange, purple, green, red) – Scrapbooking kit

Grant resources

Here are a few links to grant resources that might be of interest as your libraries continue to explore Makerspace ideas. I will add to this list as I find other grant resources.

Institute of Museum and Library Services
Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries
Dollar General Literacy Foundation
Ezra Jacks Keats Foundation



3D Printing in Lancaster


Schreiner Memorial Library had the opportunity to use the 3D printers for the last 8 weeks, and we had a great time!! Throughout the duration of the project, we had the 3D printers set up in one of our larger study rooms. When we weren’t actively showing patrons how to use the printers, they were often printing projects so that patrons could see them in action through the glass (so we didn’t have to monitor them full-time).

We quickly learned that the staff training alone took up quite a bit of time. For libraries that are able to close for staff training days, this might not be a bad way to use that format. Lancaster doesn’t have that ability, so we had to do a LOT of one-on-one training with each staff member. Six weeks was a really tight turnaround time for this kit, so we suggest that at LEAST 8 weeks are given to libraries wishing to use them. By the time the staff felt comfortable using and talking about the printers, it was almost time to give them up!

The main focus of our time with the printers was a general introduction of the technology to our patrons. So we did daily “stop in and see what’s printing” type advertisements, and many people would stop in to watch the printers in action. We also led several demonstrations and allowed some homeschool families to try them out after they learned about them. The passive programming that much of our time was spent on allowed people to interact with the technology and -for many- see a 3D printer for the first time. We answered a lot of questions and tested the size limits of the MakerBot by printing an owl with a tophat- which took most of a day (6 or 7 hours I think).

20151026_121544Our biggest challenge was when the MakerBot software started acting up and refusing to start a loaded print. We couldn’t troubleshoot very effectively because there was little information online, and MakerBot doesn’t have very accessible technical support. We also heard that the MakerBots at the local high school were having the same problem, so we think that the issues were not due to user error.


Stop Motion Animation at Mineral Point

Stop Motion Makerspace

A stop motion animation Makerspace was hosted at the Mineral Point Public Library on Wednesday, September 9.  Twelve children grades 3 through 6 attended the program. I gave  a brief introduction and showed a 16 second stop motion feature which I had created for a sample.  Three children who had worked with stop motion animation previously were assigned  as leaders.  At one point, I moved some of the kids around so everyone was interested in the project.  One group created a stop motion film with Play-Doh and two groups created films using LEGOS.  One of the groups actually had each person create their own and then just played them in a continuous loop.  It was a great activity and it was fun to watch the final creations.  We also played them for the parents as they arrived. We will be using this Makerspace  kit  two more times this month and are hoping to have some more fun results.