Thursday, May 24, 2012

Zoetropes - Animated Science


I have my physics students make zoetropes as a means of solidifying their understanding of topics in phyiscs.

A zoetrope is a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures. The term zoetrope is from the  Greek words (zoe), meaning "alive, active", and  (trope), meaning "turn". "Zoetrope" taken to mean "active turn".
The zoetrope consists of a cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides. On the inner surface of the cylinder is a band with images from a set of sequenced pictures. As the cylinder spins, the user looks through the slits at the pictures across. The scanning of the slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together, and the user sees a rapid succession of images, producing the illusion of motion.

Plastic Tub
Foam Board Circle 6” Diameter
6” Diameter Circle on White Paper with Center Point
Poster Board Strip  3.25” x 20”
2 1” squares od HDPE
Pre-made animation strip

Making the Zoetrope
Glue the white circle to the foam board circle.
Stick the nail through the center of the disc and wiggle it until the disc spins freely on the nail.
Carefully cut out the two animation strips. Do not cut out the slits. Carefully glue them end to end to the poster board. Leave 1” exposed at one end.
Curl the poster board with the animation strip inside. Overlap and glue the 1” in tab.
When the glue is dry, cut out the slits along the movie strip.
Tape the cylinder (slits up), securely to the foam board circle (white circle up).Do not allow tape to cover the slits.
Push the nail through a piece of HDPE, then through the foam disc, then through another piece of HDPE.  Put the nail into the hole in the tub and secure it with the cork.
Use the cork to spin the cylinder. Make sure the cylinder spins freely.
Your Zoetrope is Complete!!!!
View the animation by spinning the cylinder as you look through the slits.
This animations depicts the fusion of a 4 Hydrogen nuclei fusing to form Helium.
Helium contains 2 protons and 2 neutrons. Lightning bolts represent energy given off.  

Zoetrope Instructions
Zoetrope Strips  Sample Animation and Blanks

Drawing Your Own Animation

You will design two (2) animation strips to represent any two (2) physics concepts
You will be provided pre-formatted blank animation strips.
Begin with a plan.
Organize your diagram to fit the 12 box format.
Begin with pencil sketches until you are sure about your concept layout.
Use black ink to outline the diagram.
Use color to enhance your animation.
The more vibrant the colors the better the movement pattern will appear.
You can create depth to images by layering materials like construction paper cutouts, string, beads etc… to represent objects in the animation.
Because the 12 pictures pass by very quickly, the animated sequence should not by overly complex.
You do not need to be a great artist.  As you saw in the sample animation, the drawing can be simplistic, circles, squares and lines. Just use your imagination.

Animation Ideas

Falling Objects
Molecular Motion
Phase Changes
Simple Machines
Rotational Motion
Reflection in a Mirror
Refraction of Light

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