So this is pretty cool: Khan Academy has launched Pixar in a Box, a behind-the-scenes look at Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process. The free online curriculum shows how Pixar filmmakers use science, technology, engineering, art and math to create their movie magic.
Pixar in a Box is designed especially for middle and high school students, but the series of video lessons, interactive exercises, and hands-on activities are appropriate for learners of all ages. It’s a brilliant way to get kids excited about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics), as they see real-world applications of what they learn in school.
“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.”
Lessons now accessible in Pixar in a Box:
- How combinatorics are used to create crowds, like the swarm of robots in WALL-E.
- 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.
Future Pixar in a Box lessons will explore science, computer science, arts, and humanities. The site will be updated as additional lessons become available.
Check out Pixar in a Box here— it’s free!