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Pixar in a Box

When am I ever going to use this? I know I asked that question all the time as I sat through dull and dry math classes. But this is different. It not only teaches, but shows you how cool math and science can be. This is Pixar in a Box.

Khan Academy and Pixar have joined forces to create a free teaching tool for both parents and teachers. It's called Pixar in a Box.

The idea began when Pixar hosted a 10,000 square foot hands-on exhibit at the Museum of Science in Boston. Visitors were able to learn about the math and science behind Pixar animation. That led to a partnership with Khan Academy.

Khan Academy started in 2006 when Sal Khan was using YouTube to educate family and friends on math topics though online learning. In 2008, Khan founded a non-profit providing free world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Now they host over 26 million registered users.

By accessing PixarInABox.org, students can work through free lessons supporting the Khan Academy mission of no barriers to education. It’s an introduction to how math meets artistry in digital animation.

What To Expect from Pixar in a Box

First, students are presented with creative challenges that Pixar has faced with an introductory video, the hook to get kids interested. Take, for example, how do the animators create the blades of grass in Brave? By using parabolic arcs! I don’t think I’ve said that word since 7th grade and even then I probably mispronounced it.

Additional topics include:

  • Patterns – Learn about the geometry of dinosaur scales in movies like Monsters, Inc
  • Sets & Staging – See how animators incorporate geometric transformations to place toys around Andy’s room in Toy Story
  • Rendering – Explore how pixels are painted digitally using rendering equations

Each topic is hosted by one or two REAL Pixar employees. The topic includes several 2-minute videos as well as lessons that allow you to put what you’ve learned in action, with the second lesson really delving deep into the academic goal. The lessons marry creativity and mathematics/science. Mixed in with the videos are opportunities for students to practice. These interactive elements allow for them to be creators and to interact with the digital content.

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Currently, they are towards the end of Season 2 of Pixar in a Box lessons. The 10th lesson is Finding Dory effects lesson and highlights how water is made digitally. My children and I were able to go through the entire lesson and see how they make tiny particles become water. With the interactive activities woven into the lessons, we were able to use what we learned and try our hand at making particles react like water would.

Khan Academy and Pixar have joined forces to create a free teaching tool for both parents and teachers. It's called Pixar in a Box.

The lessons are designed for individual use. One neat feature is that you can sign up as a student or a teacher/coach. Since I homeschool my children, I signed up as a teacher and signed my children up at students. This free program is a great resource for homeschooling, reluctant learners, or anyone who wants to learn the fundamental skills for making movies.

Pixar in a Box is going global, and is now available in both Spanish and Portugese.

Do you think your children would like Pixar in a Box?


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19 thoughts on “Pixar in a Box”

  1. Pam says:

    This is so cool. My kids loved learning about how their favorite movies were made so they would have liked watching this.

  2. Cascia Talbert says:

    That sounds really cool! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Marcie W. says:

    My kids use Khan Academy through their school and we find it to be wonderful. With my oldest having taken media production last year, I think she would love Pixar in a Box.

  4. Toni says:

    This is awesome! Kids will surely love to learn how their favorite characters come to life!

  5. Liz Mays says:

    I think kids would love this. It’s educational and it relates to movies they love! This is great!

  6. Val says:

    Pixar in a box sounds really neat, I love that there are so many boxed items now available to help have fun, teach things and just inspire us! Will have to look into this!

  7. Robin Rue says:

    My kids would definitely love something like this. It looks like it will be such a great hands on learning that they would really get into.

  8. Kristi says:

    What a great way to make learning fun. Love stuff like that! Would make a great gift to friends and family that live far away.

  9. Stacey says:

    This looks different – a neat learning experience for older kids. My niece is a bit young for this, but I will keep it in mind for upcoming years.

  10. coolchillmom says:

    My kids would love Pixar in a box. I think it is fantastic to discover the science and art behind animation

  11. Toni says:

    My daughter would love something like this. This would make learning even more fun for her!

  12. Nicole Escat says:

    Wow, nice! I will try this for my son, I am so sure that he is going to love it.

  13. Colleen says:

    Ooh, my kids would love this! I’ve got to sign up!

  14. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly says:

    I do not have children, but as a former Special Ed Teacher anything that encourages kids to learn in an accessible way is something parents definitely should encourage their little ones to do.

  15. Elizabeth O says:

    Any educational tool that gets kids learning hard subjects in a creative way gets a thumbs up from me. This looks like a great learning tool.

  16. Liz Mays says:

    I think it’s a really cool idea. It gives kids some exposure to a world they wouldn’t otherwise get a peek into.

  17. Brandy says:

    I love the idea of having this, totally cool what is out there for fun these days. Pixar in a box would be a hit in my home, that’s 100% for sure!

  18. Latoicha says:

    This sounds absolutely amazing! My kids would love this!

  19. Jocelyn says:

    My 11 year old is into anything videos and movies so I’m sure he would like this box. Thanks for sharing!

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