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Growing (Alison Hempstock, 1994)

This 2D drawn animation shows highlights from one season of vegetable growing, from seed to harvest. Much of the animation is in close up, and almost becomes abstract illustration, focused on form and colour. Sound too plays a strong role in the film, both as a narrative aid as to what activity occurs, and in evoking a strong sensory response. Other than the passage of time there is no narrative, where months are condensed into five minutes.

Classroom Activities

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  1. Where do vegetables come from?

  2. How many people are in the film? How could you tell?

  3. What vegetables did you see?

  4. What other things (not vegetables) did you see? If they are unfamiliar, describe what they looked like/what they did.

  5. How are colours used in the film?

  6. What are the brightest objects?

  7. What can you tell about the way the gardener dresses?

  8. What does the gardener’s face look like?



  • Explain that the film is about gardening and growing vegetables. Ask children to predict what they might see and hear.

  • Listen to the first minute of the film. What sounds can be heard and what will they look like on screen? Then watch the first minute of the film. Discuss how the film compares with the children’s predictions.


  • Explain what an establishing shot is. Watch the film and ask the pupils to note examples of establishing shots. Discuss what purpose they serve in the film. Then watch for close-ups and repeat the discussion.


  • Play a game of predictions: What do you think happened just before the film started? What do you think happens next?



  • Watch the film then discuss how long the film was. Compare that to how long a period of time the story covered. Discuss how the film managed to show all the seasons in such a small space of time (compression of time).

  • Divide the story up (the seasons provide distinct sections). On the board write down the sequence of the ‘story’. Ask the children to try to identify what is being grown. Write a simple outline of stages in plant growth.


  • How is the gardener like and unlike a real person, in the way he moves around doing things?



  • Focusing on the seasons of the year, make ‘storyboards’ to show cycles of growth.

  • Draw and colour vegetables close up, using paints, crayons or pastels to explore shape and texture.


  • Talk about seasons and harvest. List different kinds of vegetables. If possible, look at and handle vegetables in class.

  • Ask children to collect and bring in seed packets and gardening magazines/books. Look at how the instructions are laid out. Discussing other ways of presenting the instructions e.g. pictures showing different activities: digging, planting, watering, growing etc.


  • List as many verbs, adverbs and adjectives as possible to describe the first minute of the film. Share the lists with the rest of the class. Write an opening paragraph for the film, encouraging them to use the most appropriate words to describe both the sounds and images which encapsulate the story set-up.

  • Write an opening paragraph for a story, focusing on the small details, e.g. getting up in the morning (comfy bed, brushing teeth, crunchy cereal).

  • Choose one plant/vegetable and create an instruction guide on how to grow their plant/vegetable. Assign different groups alternative structures for laying out instructions, e.g. lists, grids, simple flowcharts, etc.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-002-000-103-C
Resource Rights Holder Shoreline Films
Project Ref STSH1-04
Year of Production 1994
Genre Abstract
Curriculum Areas Expressive Arts, Literacy and English, Social studies, Sciences, Technologies
Who Alison Hempstock (Director, Animator), Laura Knight (Producer)
Country of Origin UK
Medium / Content 2D Animation, Fiction, Colour, Sound
Themes Harvest, Cycle, Food, Shape, Form, Sound, Texture
Clip Length 05:00