What does art, math, technology, animation, Bézier curves, engineering, parabolic arcs, Toy Story, algebra, the blades of grass in Brave, a bouncing ball, Khan Academy, and Pixar have in common? They are all elements that show up – in small and big ways – in the new learning initiative Pixar in a Box.
You might wonder what Pixar is doing in said box… what it’s doing there is something awesome, inspiring, and very meaningful.
On Wednesday night at Pixar’s HQ in Emeryville, CA, Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Khan Academy debuted their animation educational collaboration. Pixar in a Box has been developed for middle and high school students as a way to learn the art of animation as well as to illustrate a real application of the mathematical fundamentals they’ve been learning in school, lessons which could be lost if not applied in a meaningful way, and in this format, in an entertaining way.
The site utilizes videos of Pixar staffers explaining what they do and how they do it. These personal explanations are paired with exercises, projects, and easy to understand examples, like students will learn how to animate a ball and then they’ll see the algebra behind it, pairing what they created with the math that defines it.
“Creating is about solving problems,” Catmull said to the crowd assembled in the theater at Pixar. While math and science has been given a bad rap for not being a creative pursuit, Pixar in a Box, proves that math and science is at the HEART of creativity. “Art is about learning to see,” Catmull stated. And Pixar in the Box is all about seeing, doing learning, education and empowerment.
Oh and did I mention Pixar in the Box is free? Yes, free!