This activity encourages pupils to interpret scenes from the marine environment in their own creative way. For older pupils they may choose to communicate marine conservation issues using more complex scenes and modelling, music and voice over’s. For younger pupils a simple representation of a rock pool scene works well to understand the movements and interactions of marine organisms.


Any flat space where children can set up a camera, followed by work in an ICT room or classroom.


Plasticine, props to create a typical marine scene (if done in the classroom), a camera with fairly large capacity memory card, A tripod (if available), a computer, Windows Movie Maker software (It is possible to use alternative software available on Mac or other operating systems.)

Relevance and Aims:

Running the Activity:

Divide the group up into small groups and ask them to discuss ideas for a stop motion film and decide on a message or story they want to create. If you are carrying out this activity at the beach an initial exploration of the area is important for inspiration. After deciding on a message or story, encourage each group to create a short story board (explain this in the context of a comic strip) during this process, groups must decide on the characters they will need (sticking to less than one or 2 per group member is a good idea!) Also any scenery or background set that will need to be made.

Groups should then create the models and set required for their film and should set up the figures (characters) in a particular position within the set. If working outside, the set could be the real habitat. However, if in the classroom, props could be used to replicate a particular marine habitat. Next, each pair should place their camera in front of the scene making sure that the camera can view the entire frame and that it is supported by something (a tripod works best) to minimise shake, which will distort the end result. A remote control or timed shutter delay will also help reduce any camera shake. Extra lighting may also be required inside or on a dull day outside.

Now groups can take the first photo. This photo will be the beginning of the movement sequence and so all figures and models should be placed accordingly. After this they should begin the movement sequence. Someone from each pair should move the figures/figure bit by bit; the other should take a photograph of every small movement. It may be the entire body if the figure is walking, or it may just be an arm, head or leg. They should continue manipulating the figures around the scene and taking pictures along the way until they feel their whole story is complete, ensuring only very small movements are made in between each shot.

Now that all of the images are on the camera the next step is to upload them onto the computer and into a movie making software. Windows Movie Maker is easy to use and available for free download. Once all of the images are imported into the Movie Maker, go to “Options” via the “Tools” tab and then click on “Advanced”. From here they should change the picture duration to 0.03 seconds per frame. The group may wish to adjust this time, depending on how the final animation flows – reduce the time if it looks ‘jolty’ or increase if it is too fast..

Ensure that the images are all in the correct order before loading them onto the storyboard and from here the pupils can work together in their pairs to add other effects to their story such as music, dialogue, titles and credits. They can now finish their movie and upload onto the internet or burn onto CDs.

A mini film festival is a great follow up event whereby the pupils can discuss the ideas behind their films and have an opportunity to watch everybody else’s. You can also upload them to YouTube. If you do, contact us to let us know and we may even link to them from the MBA website.

See examples of videos on YouTube by the Blue Sound Project here and here.



Group Size

2 or more


up to an hour

Ocean Literacy Links