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Pixar in a Box

Pixar in a Box shows how Pixar artists create movies using subjects learned in school - math, science, computer science, arts and humanities

Pixar in a Box is a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar filmmakers do their jobs. With this curriculum and video tutorials students learn how to animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, make virtual fireworks explode & more. By offering authentic real world lessons and projects Pixar in a Box helps students see where their passions, academic learning and real-world applications intersect.

Visual Arts in Education


HundrED has selected this innovation to

Visual Arts in Education

Web presence






Target group
May 2020
Student engagement is our number one priority Experiences must be relevant, memorable and leverage student interest Content is active, participatory and anchored around absorbing projects

About the innovation

Career Focused & Project Based Learning

Why did you create this innovation?

While working at Pixar, two of the X in a Box co-founders recognized that there was constant demand from schools and educators to engage with Pixar and connect students to the innovation happening inside the studio. This led to the collaboration with Khan Academy (and meeting our third co-founder Brit Cruise )to create Pixar in a Box. Elyse, our CEO, was keenly aware of the inequities facing students, teachers and classrooms and wanted to bridge that gap.

The XIAB team has created a unique set of content that is available to every educator, every classroom, and will connect students to innovation happening at leading companies. Pixar in a Box was the first complete series, and led to many other fruitful projects and partnerships such as Imagineering in a Box with Disney or Array 101 with Ava Duvernay.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Pixar in a Box is a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar artists do their jobs. Students are able to animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make virtual fireworks explode. The subjects students learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — are used every day to create amazing movies at Pixar. 

Teachers can adapt this set of turnkey lessons to their classroom and utilize the videos and ancillary materials to create engaging classroom experiences. The goal is to ignite students’ natural curiosity and give them the opportunity to put their learning into practice through hands-on projects. Additionally, students begin to build their portfolios of work samples, getting them ready for their future careers.

How has it been spreading?

Our innovation has been spread primarily by word of mouth, which is such a compliment. We know educators and students enjoy our products and we're overjoyed that they share their experiences with fellow educators and students.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

To access our content, please visit our website, xiab.org, and make your way to the Lessons page. We welcome and are grateful for feedback, so we encourage you to connect with us on social media and share your thoughts!

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Pixar in a box addresses a particular need by highlighting jobs in visual art that students can pursue after graduation. There is a lack of emphasis on the importance of visual arts as a career option, and Pixar in a Box clearly highlights the possibilities that come with pursuing visual art. As this is online, the possibilities to scale are global anywhere with access to the internet.

HundrED Academy Reviews
Super resource for teachers that is ready to be implemented. I think all teachers should know this exists and its availble for them to use.
The Pixar in a Box concept offers insight to the world of contemporary computerised animation craft. It's a good thing that the Khan Academy video series concentrates on the companies core functions and that it actually gives insight on real professions and tasks in the field.
- Academy member
Academy review results
High Impact
Low Scalability
High Impact
High Scalability
Low Impact
Low Scalability
Low Impact
High Scalability
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Spread of the innovation

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