Science animation: How to make scientific subjects fun?
Do you believe that science can make you joyful and “high” like helium? That’s because of animated visuals! Animation and science both boost imagination to the edge. In fact, this duo can bring us many surprising benefits, especially in teaching science. Using animated videos into scientific subjects helps teachers to solve one of the most aching problems: students perceive science as a boring subject. An animated scientific explainer video is a smart solution that going to tickle learners even their will told them not to!
What is science animation?
Animated resources such as videos, images, slides, … used for delivering scientific information are called science animation. For example, this is a video from Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell YouTube channel using animation to visualize the smallness of an atom. The result? They nailed it!
Or this educational image from our work with world-renowned permaculture consultant, designer, and teacher Geoff Lawton on Permaculture Design Online Course. Earlier on, he has produced more than 700 live-action videos recording himself teaching the lesson. However, the complicated and abstract processes of permaculture can’t be fully delivered and explained only via these videos. Therefore, we consulted Geoff on combining live-action and animated videos in the courses and worked together to create 330 learning videos. Science animations play an important role in helping students understand the complex effects of landscapes and climates, which takes hours if only explained by words.
Check out more case studies of science animations:
The core value of science animation is high accuracy. When it comes to teaching science – whether it’s applied science or natural science, there should be no misunderstanding or misleading. Therefore, students’ foundation of knowledge would be strong, firm and bold so that they will be able to develop their learning journey. Moreover, with the help of animated materials, science can now be both fun and informative at the same time. How? Let’s find out below!
How can animation make science fun?
When students hear about science, they often perceive the subject to be hard, complex and boring. Moreover, scientific subjects are tagged as “for nerd only.” Some students pride themselves in being more creative than others because their attention is not captured by these methodical topics. The convenience that the Internet has brought us, specifically search engines like Google, distract young people from being curious to dig deep into their study. Instead, they choose to harvest some instant shortcut information. This is just the tip of an iceberg to many reasons why more and more students are losing interest in learning sciences.
Find out more factors contribute to the low enthusiasm for science:
So how can animation work its magic on science? Though the two oppose each other.
Animation has help science by making it not only look fun but also enjoyable and entertaining. Science is more appealing to a wider range of people nowadays than previously when they thought scientific subjects may not be right for them. Thanks to animation’s colorful, friendly appearance, students can feel much more supported and confident to take the class. Attending science hours is no longer a burden; instead, it has become a playful and exciting subject that is just like coming to the cinema or going to a comic bookstore.
Simplify complicated contents
One of the most common reasons why people find science tiring is that it involves too many difficult and puzzling factors, definitions, internal/external relationships, chronological orders, and many more to count. How can we be having fun while digesting many things at a time?. These complex issues could be solved with animated resources by visualization. With visuals, science learning is made easier since our brain tends to proceed images a lot faster (it is estimated 60,000 times faster) than written words … No more wordy, no more complex matter, for the learners. Furthermore, complex data like charts, numbers are presented more beautifully.
Joyful learning experience
Most of us grow up with the fantasies of Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, or Ghibli Studios as childhood memories. But with the application of animated videos into school subjects, especially boring science, students are now living their wonderful young ages again! They get fun, they get inspired and they learn from science animation. Who said animation is only for children? Animated materials boost learning spirit, make them more engaged, and improve the learning outcome.
Take a look at this famous video from TED-Ed:
This 4-minutes video used colorful animation to visualize strange obstacles floating in our eyes. “Floaters” are illustrated cutely are explained scientifically with high accuracy of the operation of our eyes. Thanks to TED-Ed, the “biggest personal mystery” is now clear! These annoying floaters are tiny objects that cast shadows on the retina of your eyeball and are clearly seen on bright backgrounds like a blank computer screen or morning blue sky.
|Extra ways to fight science subjects boredom:
Scientific Subjects Made Simple: 07 Pivotal Teaching Aids for Science
From the video above, another conclusion is made to make science learning more fun: practical experience. Students often forget the scientific side of a real phenomenon, so surprise them with in-depth knowledge would be a brilliant way to inspirit them. And here’s the most important part of this article, we would like to tell you lot of tricks and reveal some secret to produce really humorous science animation.
How to create fun science animation?
Focus on the following factors to ultimately produce effective science materials with animation, here you go!
Create motion to enjoy first
Simple yet impressive! Who would deny a cute GIF like this? The key here is the motion of the illustrated Earth: the smile, the surprise reaction, …
Motion is enlisted as the strongest feature in science animation. Movement of characters, the transition of processes or operation of living things can all be shown in motion. Its vital mission is to connect: everything is relatable. The smoothness of a video defines the success of delivering knowledge as it affects the learning process, motivation, and engagement. Do you need a lot of these very techniques (motions) or transition? Actually, no too many movements unfortunately seem inappropriate because it will distract learners. But yes, it’s an indispensable part, knowing to insert appropriate motion at an appropriate time is a secret that contributes robustly to give emotion for the video and make it ‘alive’.
If you are looking for some animation software to perform the act, we suggested then try After Effect Adobe, Toon Boom, etc. Template software like Vyond and PowToon are just good at making a basic and simple animation, so it would be hard to create the proper animation. For the best results, you should use tailored animation from professional studios instead. Although it’s more expensive than Vyond and PowToon, it sure to reduces a lot of work and guarantees quality.
Optimize visualized subjects
Another great feature of science animation is visualization. Poor visual never conquer the learners. However, if it is done for distinguished purposes (like a parody), we will not discuss those circumstances, such as this video 60M viewer video (which is super 8bit, at primitive dawn of illustrations), but standing out!
But for higher education and non-entertainment videos, (which are explainer videos), rich and intense visual materials with clear data from charts, models and images help learners get the idea of content better.
Take a look at this detailed visuals explaining various processes that occur in the formation of metamorphic rock from our work with UNSW Sydney (The University of New South Wales).
Normally, it would take pages of documents to explain specifically a complicated process like this. However, science animation allows students to grasp all the information with logic and order.
There are some things to note, as it can provide higher outcomes when using charts and models.
- Tree charts are beneficial to show various kinds of relationships.
- Classification charts are best used to present classifications, e.g. plant kingdom or animal kingdom.
- Collages are those charts where information or pictures from other sources (newspapers, magazines, etc.) are pasted.
- Flip charts are used to make a flipbook or a stand and it is flipped backward like a calendar sheet.
For models, remember to apply a reasonable type for each situation. There are 3 main types of models, which are static, sectional, and working model. In a static model, parts of a system cannot be separated. On the other hand, sectional models allow you to remove and replace parts of an object. Apart from that, working models show the actual operation of an object or process, e.g., conduction of electricity, body systems.
Trigger humor and curiosity via storytelling
An extra for science animation’s attractiveness is definitely storytelling. Do you believe that storytelling is used to present complex and abstract topics like science nowadays? Everybody is always attracted to inspiring stories. Because they bring a great sense of listening and feeling at the same time. In our recent article The Subtle Art of communicating complex concept with animation, we have noted down for you that:
Use a plot if possible
While we’re on the topic of introducing characters for emotional values, why not write a whole story or film plot? Humans have always been storytellers, ever since we were living in caves. And since you’re informing your audience of new and complicated ideas, a good solution is to sandwich it with something they’re already familiar with – stories.
Animation and storytelling go hand in hand, fusing together to make the best catalyst for emotions, reeling everyone in with funny, sad, triggering images, you name it. Even the toughest Kinesthetics will have their pickles tickled.
In medical animation, storytelling is also applied in medical animation to present training for both patients and professionals. While storytelling provides smoothly-connected explanations for their health, nurses and doctors find it useful in learning, training, and performing. One highlight of this healthcare animation is experiential learning. Some special scenarios can’t be presented, for example, a hospital catches on fire. A carefully-written script can bring this emergency situation to life, along with the help of animation.
To tell a story, firstly, you have to create objects and characters. Besides, you also need to create an outline of the flow of information (what happens before and what happens after) because it’s a script. In this way, the content is simpler to understand, and science becomes more friendly with learners. But how can it become fun you asked? Well, the secret lies in the sense of humor. It is wise to utilize analogies whenever possible, begin with a super unrealistic scenario and also link-time events/ factors from different or irrelevant entities that may share a common connection. Always think of more ways to connect similar subjects, and expand the topic logically.
Never stop before you can create inspiring audio narrations
Last but not least, animated video with compelling visuals and audio descriptions can lead to the highest result thanks to the creation of a multi-sensory learning experience for viewers.
An animated learning video without the voice-over usually has more texts. In science animation, when students are focusing on watching the movements of objects to see the process, it’s hard to read the texts included. Through voice-over, the presence of lecturers, which is very important to students’ learning experience, is enhanced. The familiar instructor’s voice can decrease the feeling of isolation and demotivation when learners studying online.
It’s not much to say, to the tone of the narration (as a part of storytelling) can affect the mood of the learners. If you go with a sleepy voice, your students will get super sleepy accordingly. A dogmatic voice will bring heaviness and dull to the video, and lose all attempts of being fun. So, it’s vital that every science animation should come up with a clear and transparent dubbing, and most of it, be funny (give it a try) and be inspiring. Be exotic and exciting!
Dig deeper on this topic in this article:
Watch our video for Sedimentary Design Training for UNSW Sydney recorded with voice-over for wonderful explanations, which resulted in fewer texts on screen and increasing focus of students.
To sum up, animation does wonders for science teaching as its features make difficult and tough scientific topics more fun, more engaging. Students will realize that learning science is a fun and enjoyable journey leading to valuable knowledge.
Animation, as a tool that boosts imagination and creativity, has tremendous effects on delivering information and inspiring students. And it is also an amazing way to promote your course. Find out more about these articles below:
- 15 facts to expect at the power of animation!
- 5 best examples of educational science animated videos in eLearning
- Adapt animated learning videos as an effective method of teaching science
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