Animating Science


To deepen pupils’ engagement and science understanding and make science learning more fun.


  • Education staff & animators from Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA)
  • School of Life Sciences (SLS) Public Engagement Team
  • University of Dundee’s academic lead: Ian Ganley, MRC PPU
  • SLS scientists inc. 7 MRC PPU staff & students
  • Teachers & pupils from Angus primary schools

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A partnership (2017-present) between SLS and the DCA Learning team to:

  • develop stop motion animation skills with pupils and teachers (P7 - S3) and support them in creating animated films about Life Science concepts
  • deepen pupils’ engagement and science understanding and make science learning more fun

15 SLS researchers were trained and took experiments and activities to 4 primary schools (numbers impacted during pandemic) to engage pupils with different scientific concepts. Pupils then used their learning to create story boards that, with the support of the DCA and animators, they animated. A ‘film premiere’ was shown at the schools’ leaving days to fellow pupils and families.

Following this successful pilot phase, a large number of schools (particularly in the Angus area) were keen to take part in the project so focus shifted from delivery to capacity building with training for MRC PPU staff & students (run by animator from DCA) and CPD sessions for teachers.

Key outcomes

  • Participating classes showed a significant increase in science engagement and knowledge as a result of taking part in the project.
  • Teacher observation reported excellent levels of team working and engagement from pupils who are traditionally more disruptive or unengaged with regular classwork.
  • Project was shared at external events such as NCCPE’s Engage Conference, British Society for Immunology conference, Scottish Primary Science Education conference.
  • A video was created to highlight some of the animations made by the school pupils and some teachers talking about the brilliant impact of the project:

“The involvement with the University of Dundee allowed the children to see actually what a career in science could look like”

Teacher, Woodlands Primary School

“Because it took them [the pupils] a while to do it they engaged better in the learning…they engaged with it more deeply, they were able to show what their learning was in a more expanded way”

Teacher, Dunning Primary School

Animating science
Animating science 2

“Interdisciplinary learning can be fruitful… science can be quite hard and complicated but getting the children to engage through the animation and all the creativity that comes with that is a positive thing”

Teacher, Dunning Primary School

“One of the best parts of the project is the fact that it has engaged children who maybe aren’t typically involved in the academic side of learning….they were eager to find out when the next instalment of the project would be… it captured their attention and they ended up taking leadership roles”

Teacher, Woodlands Primary School

Future plans

  • The School of Life Sciences will be launching an Animating Science website in 2023 with guidance for teachers on running Animating Science projects within their own classrooms. This will include comprehensive guidance on the pre- and post- filming stages as well as detailed scientific resources to use for inspiration (as well as showcasing previous films).
  • Pending funding additional schools may be able to take part in sessions facilitated by DCA/SLS staff.