Updated April 2016

Khan Academy: Pixar in a Box

Great tool shows kids how math relates to creative design

Subjects & skills
  • Arts
  • Math

Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pixar in a Box is a themed set of lessons on the Khan Academy platform, infused with very well-produced videos and web-based interactive widgets to help kids get excited about and visualize the math behind some of Disney's biggest animated features. Each lesson comes with an introductory video that explains math concepts such as using parabolic curves to model grass or using weighted averages to translate clay sculptures into 3D computer models. Learners then play around with tools based on the real tools that Pixar animators use and are given the opportunity to test their knowledge through built-in assessment.

Every page in a lesson takes advantage of the web platform and allows users to comment or discuss, which makes for some very powerful collective learning. Each lesson also comes with hands-on activities, taking a constructivist approach to learning as kids make things with paper, string, pencils, and scissors. For more advanced learners (such as high school students), lessons provide deeper insights into the mathematical formulas behind the visual concepts. Teachers could easily incorporate Pixar in a Box as a self-directed unit to be done either individually (or in pairs) or as a great supplemental homework activity.

Full Disclosure: Khan Academy and Common Sense Education share funders; however, those relationships do not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.

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Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Alexander G. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Wooster High School
Wooster, United States
Love MOST of it.
My take is that I love it. We use it as low as 3rd grade for math but I tend not to go any lower than that grade level when introducing it. From a system administration stand point for a district to use it is kind of a pain since there are no upload options available for mass registration of students. Also, we stay away from under grade 3 due to the fact that there is something funky when using the text-to-speech options either in Google Chrome or using the OS text-to-speech as when it reads numbers it ...
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