Disney Pixar and Khan Academy have teamed up to create a free online course, called Pixar in a Box, that teaches students how their movies are made, from the initial art to the final renderings.

timeline for how pixar movies are created

Pixar in a Box is designed to help students answer an age old question: “why do I need to learn this stuff?” Our answer to this question is a series of interactive lessons, each of which demonstrate how a concept introduced in school is used for creative benefit at Pixar.

Although our lessons are designed and optimized for the individual learner, we are passionate about finding ways to plug Pixar in a Box into the home and classroom environment.

Each topic in the course is split into two levels. The first starts at a basic level and is generally suitable for all ages. The second level contains prerequisites that get progressively more difficult.


Environment Modeling

  • Lesson 1: Modeling grass with parabolas –  all ages
  • Lesson 2: Calculating parabolas – KS3/4

Character Modeling

  • Lesson 1: Modeling with subdivision surfaces – all ages
  • Lesson 2: Mathematics of subdivision – KS3/4


  • Lesson 1: Introduction to animation curves – all ages
  • Lesson 2: Mathematics of animation curves – KS3/4


  • Lesson 1: Building crowds (combinations) – KS2/3
  • Lesson 2: Counting crowds (binomial coefficnent) – KS4

Sets & Staging

  • Lesson 1: Geometric transformations – KS3
  • Lesson 2: Mathematics of rotation – KS4


  • Lesson 1: Rendering 101 – all ages
  • Lesson 2: Mathematics of rendering – KS4

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