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Historical Fiction in Action: Bringing Historical Characters to Life with Brush Ninja animation Lesson Plan

Learning Objective

Students will be able to create an animated gif using Brush Ninja and use it to bring a historical character to life in their own original historical fiction story.


  • Access to computers or tablets with internet connectivity
  • Brush Ninja website
  • Historical fiction books or articles about a chosen historical figure
  • Writing materials such as paper and pen/pencil


  1. Introduce the concept of historical fiction by discussing what it is, giving examples, and explaining its purpose.
  2. Have students choose a historical figure that they are interested in from the selection of books/articles provided or from their own research.
  3. Instruct students to read about their chosen historical figure and take notes on important facts, events, personality traits, etc.
  4. Demonstrate how to use Brush Ninja by creating a simple animation with basic tools such as brush strokes and color changes. Provide time for students to explore the tool themselves.
  5. Instruct students to create an animated gif that brings their chosen historical figure to life by animating important events or actions related to them. Remind them that the animation should reflect the personality traits of their chosen character.
  6. After completing the animation, instruct students to write a short historical fiction story (~200 words) that incorporates their animated gif into it.
  7. Allow time for students to share their animations and stories with each other.


Assessment will be based on:

  • The quality and creativity of the animated gif (20 points)
  • The accuracy of historical details represented in both the animation and story (20 points)
  • The clarity of writing, including grammar and punctuation (10 points)

Total possible score: 50 points


For advanced learners or those who finish early:

  • Research additional information about their chosen historical figure and incorporate new details into their animations/stories.
  • Create more complex animations using advanced tools such as layers and effects.
  • Collaborate with a partner to create a joint animation/story that incorporates both of their chosen historical figures.

How to animate with Brush Ninja

This video teaches the basics of using Brush Ninja

More Tutorial Videos →

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Note: The lessons are written with the assumption that teachers will be using them as a starting point, and will be adapting them to suit the needs of their students and curriculum.

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