I recently took my small zoetrope to a nursery in West London where I worked with the children to create our own zoetrope animations. We talked about how the sequence of drawings on my animation strip looked blurry when viewed in the spinning zoetrope from above, but when viewed through the slits in the side they created a moving picture of a dolphin jumping out of the sea or of a dot growing and shrinking. On long strips of paper the children drew their own pictures and we took turns watching each other’s animations. It was surprising for them to see even their scribbliest pictures come to life as they rotated in the zoetrope which led to further exploration of just how much scribbling you could do and still create an exciting film. As we watched the pictures moving we shouted out what they reminded us of – some of these comments appear as subtitles on the video compilation below.
Another zoetrope lesson from a South London nursery earlier in the year went similarly – in this video you can hear the children chatting about what they can see: