A story in 2 minutes – a multimedia activity for all subjects

My principal shared this video with me today. It’s called Our Story in 2 Minutes. The video summarises the Earth’s history from the Big Bang till now in two minutes.

This inspired me to come up with some similar story-in-2-minutes activities where students can create a video using images only to represent the development of an event. It doesn’t even have to be two minutes. It can be one minute, three minutes, however long you and your students like. A video of images can be made to sequence the events in the evolution of life on Earth, the development of our current understanding of the universe, development of the cell theory, development of our understanding of genetics … the list goes on and on and it can be used in subjects other than science.

What I like about this activity is that it’s simple and yet allows students to create and engage in deep learning that extends from a subject area and even be part of a cross-KLA activity. It’s simple for both students and teachers as it involves searching and selecting images that represents certain ideas and events and then inserting the images into a video-editing program such as Windows Movie Maker or even PowerPoint. Technology tools that don’t require a high level of technical expertise from either teachers or students and are available to most students. The activity is also simple in the sense that it does not have to take long, which can be a good activity to suggest to teachers who are concerned about being pressed for time.

To create stories in 2 minutes also allow students the opportunity to learn about digital citizenship. Can students use any images pulled from the web? Do they have to search for creative commons images? How do they acknowledge the source of images? This activity is not only about the content of a subject area.

Finally creating stories in 2 minutes can be adapted into project-based learning or provide an opportunity to create a product that can be shared with a public audience beyond the classroom. Creating a story in 2 minutes require students to first understand the content, select and justify appropriate images that best represent the content and sequence them in a logical order. It allows students to apply higher order thinking skills.

I teach in Sydney, Australia so my school year is starting in about a week’s time. I will be definitely using the story-in-2-minutes concept this year.

What will you use it for?


5 thoughts on “A story in 2 minutes – a multimedia activity for all subjects

  1. One idea I have and will work on immediately is “Water” going from in the atmosphere, through soils and plants through human activities to the sea etc, the water cycle. Pictures will be important. Another one will be on the Wollemi Pine.

    • They are great ideas! I particular like the Wollemi Pine idea. Students can create a 2 minute video on how the pine was thought to be extinct, then so rare that it’s locked in a cage at the Botanical Gardens and now quite widespread that most people have one in their backyards. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this – I’ve also seen that video. As a History teacher and HOD, I am thinking of using it with my students to select significant events within a specific time period – e.g. Ancient Rome or Industrial Revolution. It will be interesting to see what events they select as significant, particularly if they write a one-paragraph justification to go with it.

    The year 7’s write a 2-paragraph assessment piece about an artefact from an Ancient Civilisation, and by creating a short movie, this could be a way for them to familiarise themselves with their chosen civilisation before beginning their task. Maybe a homework project? I was thinking of using iMovie for my students with Apple devices. They could use the 3D Timeline App to record events and images before selecting from these for their movie.

    Thanks for sharing – it has given me some great ideas!

  3. A bit late to this post but am reading through your blog (which I love by the way! Really useful ideas expressed in an honest voice) I had to comment on this post though because I have been preparing for a new animation class and one of the first activities I have them doing is a whole class activity where they find the most important developments in animation history. I am going to do this with them! They will love it – thanks 🙂

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