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### Course: Pixar in a Box > Unit 1

Lesson 1: Start here# Educator's guide

*Pixar in a Box* is designed to help students answer an age old question: "Why do I need to learn this stuff?" Our answer is found in a series of interactive lessons that demonstrate that the very same concepts that students learn in school are used to make movies at Pixar. We have content appropriate for grade 3 and up.

## Lesson design

### Story lessons

If you are new to PIAB you might want to check out our storytelling lesson since story is at the heart of every part of the filmmaking process at Pixar. It is a six part lesson that takes you from zero to a finished storyboard for a film. This lesson requires approximately 12 working hours to complete in its entirety.

### Production lessons

We have a library of lessons focused on each step of the production process which are designed to be explored in any order. They all begin with a lesson on the artistic challenges faced in that department, followed by a second lesson on the technical underpinnings. On average, these lessons take approximately 1 hour to complete. You can use the search tool below to find grade/age appropriate lessons.

**We also have teacher guides below the search tool.**## Find your lesson

Below is search tool to help you find relevant lessons for your class.

## Teacher guides

We have teacher guides for the first lesson in all of the production modules. You can download them here (right click "save as"):

# Hands-on activities

We've created some hands-on activities to extend our introductory lessons. You'll find these at the bottom of lessons under "hands-on activities". Here are links to take you directly to our activities:

- Learn hand drawn animation in this three-part activity.
- Appropriate for
**all ages**

- Apply combinations to create a crowd of dinosaurs using a small number of parts.
- Appropriate for
**grades 5 to 8**

- Use string art construction to weave parabolic curves by hand.
- Appropriate for
**all ages**

- Practice looking at light and shadow.
- Analyze how lighting influences the shape, color and value of light and shadow in a scene.

## Related content

Interested in more STEAM content from the creators of Pixar in a Box? Check out our new series Imagineering in a Box that enables learners to explore different aspects of theme park design, from characters to ride development.

## Want to join the conversation?

- So all of this animation needs math? Why? I thought we just had to do some tweening, frame drawing, and lighting.(145 votes)
- You're thinking of it wrong. All those tools you use require math to be calculated. Even the idea behind 3 dimensions requires math. Though most tools allow you to get by with a very minimal amount of math, people like Pixar still need to come up with new algorithms to generate things. If you've ever taken the Advanced JS: Natural Simulations course, you would've gotten to the part about noise. A man who was working on the original Tron movie developed the noise algorithm. So now with all of today's technology, how hard is it to come up with new ways when we know more than ever before? Really hard. Which is why I say kudos to the people who came up with this stuff. Games use a lot of heavy math too, mainly to develop shaders, particles, A* pathfinding, fog, tessellation, etc. As an animator, it's good to know a good amount of math to help you when needed. Depending on where you work, you may have to do some things yourself or with the help of a technical director and such.(343 votes)

- Will there be more lessons added for 2nd and 3rd graders? My 3rd graders would especially love to learn more. Thank you!(67 votes)
- There will be more lessons, but they are unlikely to be suitable for 2nd and 3rd graders. The problem is that we want the content to demonstrate genuine solutions to problems Pixar faces when making a movie. We specifically want to avoid just giving math a superficial Pixar veneer, for example, with questions like "I have 5 Buzz Lightyear dolls and my neighbour takes two of them away, how many do I have?".

It's possible to simplify the math problems to a level that high schooler can understand without losing the essence of the problem, but there's only so much simplification you can do. Having said that, I think the first half of Crowds is perhaps suitable, and if you have any ideas, we'd love to hear them: https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/pixar/crowds/crowds-1/a/start-here-crowds(26 votes)

- How long does it take to make a whole movie?(55 votes)
- I found an answer here: http://www.youngzine.org/article/animated-movies-you-asked-pixar-answers

Pixar movies can take anywhere from 4 years to 7 years! The bulk of the production though, such as animation and lighting, only takes about 6 to 8 months.(59 votes)

- How do I do this and its so cool to leran how to make movies and then anmaite them. Help me more plesae. I need to know this so help me pleseae!(6 votes)
- So do I start from the beginning or can I start wherever?(7 votes)
- start form the beginning it it more helpful in the long run(0 votes)

- does sowing a piece of string need math(1 vote)
- Yes, because you need to know how long the strip of cloth(9 votes)

- I'm currently struggling with calculus. Is calculus used in this kind of stuff anywhere?(0 votes)
- Calculus is used in Pixar programs, but it is not currently covered by this course. There are plenty of videos on it on Khan Academy though: https://www.khanacademy.org/math/differential-calculus(22 votes)

- How long does it take to make a hour film?(5 votes)
- As a Coach, why can't I add this to my "Class" on Khan? Or am I missing something? I see only some of the individual modules like Animation, as opposed to the entire Pixar in a Box curriculum?(6 votes)
- how do you guys make it so life like(5 votes)