Life Lapse: An Overview and Uses in the Classroom

Who knew it would be so easy to create a stop-motion animation video? I’ve made high-speed videos and time-lapses before, but there is just something to cute about stop-motion. It’s so fun to make inanimate objects look like they’re walking, jumping, or even dancing!

Life Lapse is a really easy tool to help you create these adorable animations. It’s a free app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. It uses photos or very short video clips that you can take in the moment or import from your gallery.

Here are some of my biggest tips when creating a stop-motion animation with Life Lapse:

  1. Use a tripod or some sort of homemade apparatus to keep your device held steady in the same place. This will help you create smooth transitions between clips.
  2. Have consistent lighting. If you’re going to use natural light, it would be best to do it all on the same day and not over many hours (the light will change as the day goes on). I used my ring light set up next to my table and did not move it or adjust any settings on it for the entirety of filming.
  3. Try your best not to move anything else within the frame that is not being animated. If you are using props or there are other objects in the background, try to move them as little as possible, if not at all.

Watch this quick screencast for an overview on how to use Life Lapse:

Stop-motion animation videos can be a great medium for students to demonstrate their learning. Most of the time, when we encourage students to do an audiovisual project, it is usually a video or maybe a podcast-style audio recording. Both of these are great options, but there is so much more out there in the world of technology that is right at our fingertips! Here are a few examples of ways that students could use Life Lapse for a project in multiple different subjects:

English

Your students are reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. To check their understanding of the storyline, characters, setting, etc., have students use Life Lapse to recreate a scene of their choice. They may choose to use dolls, clay figurines, drawings, or even themselves to represent characters. Students may or may not present their videos to the class. Optional: you may ask that students do an audio recording overtop of their Life Lapse animation for dialogue and/or narration.

EXTENSION ACTIVITY: As a class, watch a film version of Romeo and Juliet and have students write a short reflection documenting the similarities and differences between the movie and their own interpretation.

History

Use the “English” activity and replace Romeo and Juliet with a historical event.

Art

Have your students use Life Lapse to take snapshots as they work on an art piece. Whether this be a graphite/coloured pencil drawing, acrylic/watercolour painting, or a 3D sculpture, students can use Life Lapse to show the process and evolution of their art.

Mathematics

Your Pre-Calculus class is learning about the transformation of functions. To unlock student thinking (see Peter Liljedahl’s Building Thinking Classrooms) and have them discover mathematical relationships/connections on their own, present them with this project with no prior instruction about transformations. Split the class into equal groups and assign each group a type of function (i.e. polynomial, radical, trigonometric, exponential/logarithmic, absolute value, etc.). You may choose to have each group do one type of function with all types of transformations for a larger project, or you can split the class into smaller groups and have them investigate one type of function and only one type of transformation (i.e. compressions/stretches) for a smaller project. Provide them with a list of functions: f(x) = x^2, g(x) = x^2 +1, h(x) = (x+1)^2, j(x) = x^2 – 1, etc… and have them use a table of values to graph their functions and make a Life Lapse animation of them. Students must show both the graph and its corresponding equation in the video (they may do this with drawings on graph paper or on an erasable surface like a whiteboard). Following the project’s completion, the class as a whole will have an informal discussion about what they found during their investigation. If students are uncomfortable with verbally sharing their findings with the class, you may choose to have students write on a Padlet (which is anonymous) that you could then read aloud to the class. During this discussion, ask your students probing questions that will lead them to discovering how different values within a function will affect its graph.

Biology

Your biology students are learning about mitosis and meiosis. Have your students use Life Lapse to create a stop motion animation video showing the stages of each of these processes using their own illustrations (including labeled diagrams).

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns regarding these lesson/activity ideas or Life Lapse in general, feel free to comment on this post or Tweet me! I’d love to chat about it with you.

~ Haley

8 thoughts on “Life Lapse: An Overview and Uses in the Classroom

  1. Alex Crammond February 22, 2021 / 10:35 am

    Hi Haley,
    I love how thorough you were with how Life-Lapse can be used in the classroom. Especially for math, how creative! I wish my pre-cal teacher did something like this instead of the same old boring lecturing. I also liked your screencast to explain how to use the app, super helpful for people like me who have no idea how to even start with stop motion animation. From your explanation and review I will most likely be checking life-lapse out for myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haley Begrand February 22, 2021 / 3:03 pm

      That’s awesome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I agree, math especially needs to be revamped in a way. It can be very routine and boring sometimes, but there are so many ways to make it exciting! This is just one of many ways we can do this. I think it’s super important to bring creativity into math classrooms. Thank you so much for checking out my blog, Alex!!

      Like

  2. Sheila Cunningham February 22, 2021 / 2:44 pm

    Loved the pre-calculus lesson, students could also use Desmos to create each of their graphs as well. This lesson has so much potential for extension. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haley Begrand February 22, 2021 / 3:07 pm

      Well hello there! 😉 Absolutely. There are probably tons of platforms students could use to do this project. That could be another way to incorporate student choice, present them with different tools and let them choose which one they’d like to work with. I agree, I think there’s lots of potential for extension and adaptation here. Thank you for reading my post!

      Like

  3. Mitchell Smith February 22, 2021 / 4:05 pm

    Hi Haley,

    Very engaging blog and great tutorial you put together. I love how you showed step by step in your video. Your audio was clear and I was able to follow along great! Keep up the great work and stop motion seems very cool from what I gathered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haley Begrand February 22, 2021 / 4:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Mitchell! I’m glad you learned something from my post. I think stop motion is pretty cool too!

      Like

  4. janelleboutin February 22, 2021 / 11:18 pm

    Hey Haley!
    I love stop-motion videos but I always thought they were a lot harder to create! Your demonstration and explanation of Life Lapse made it clear to see that creating stop-motion videos are actually much more easier than what I had thought! Thanks for doing such a great review and explanation of this app! Also, it was great to read the very creative ways you came up with for using this app in many different subject areas!

    Liked by 1 person

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