Using Keynote animations in a History lesson

This past week we were thinking of ways of helping our Year 4 students better share their knowledge around the journey of the First Fleet –  which were the 11 ships that started the British colonisation of Australia in 1788.  

They had been documenting the legs of the voyage and had researched some facts about what happened at each stop from both a story book and other sources. The students had been writing them down in their books but our Year 4 teachers wanted a way they could share this information in a fun way in a lesson where we were building their technology skills at the same time.

At Mount Sinai, we use Apple’s Keynote early – starting in Year 1 filling in pre-created templates. However we start to introduce the animation features later- so Keynote came to mind as a handy way to represent this information in a visual way.

I made up a quick cheat sheet on some of the Tools to help the kids remember where things were, and I ran a lesson showing the students of the features around adding text, shapes and how to change them:

Most of the kids were familiar with these elements which was great, so we moved onto the components around animation which was new. Most people start with animating text, but we wanted to move items around. We demonstrated animating the items using the Motion path, which is a great way to show the path of the journey.  In the end the students recorded a series of steps – with shapes being added of the fruits, vegetables, animals and storms the fleet experienced along the way.  All of this ended up being a single slide within Keynote, and a sequence of animations and shapes sharing the steps.

Using Motion path (and a Jiggle action when the ship hits a storm)

Some of the students ended up with 30 steps in a single slide – with the fruit and vegetables “jumping” into their boats along the way:

The students used the “Export” feature of Keynote to make a Movie which they shared with each other and their parents online.

We had to spend a little time explaining how timings work in Keynote -including making this quick guide: When exporting from Keynote there are different behaviours depending on how they have setup their animation timings:

But in the end we ended up with some fun videos sharing the outcomes along the way:

In this video – the students added Christmas in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

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