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Emotion Modeling with Photogoo
In this activity, players manipulate an image of a face, cartoon character, or another item by dragging their fingers across the screen. Players can distort the image by making parts of the picture bigger or smaller as they wish. It can also be drawn upon using the computer's pen.
Grades: All
Funcioning level: Lower-functioning (but application appropriate for all levels)
Skills: Understanding others' emotions, fine motor skills, detecting and predicting others' facial emotions
Materials: Multitouch tablet, photogoo software
Duration: As long as desired (until those playing lose interest)


  1. Click icon. Double click the Photogoo icon.
  2. Select photo. Allow the child to select a picture by touching it with a finger.
  3. Give "emotion prompt". Ask the child to make the character look happy, sad, mad, scared, surprised, or another emotion. If the child is higher-functioning, ask them how a character might feel in different types of scenarios that might produce different emotions.
  4. Draw (if desired). The child can now modify the character or photo with her fingers and, if desired, take the computer pen out and draw on it.
  5. End at a point that feels appropriate.
  6. Restart the activity by simultaneously touching the top right and bottom left of the display. This will allow the child to select a picture again.
  7. Exit the program by pressing the Esc key.

Adding and changing pictures
You can add, remove and change pictures by going to the "photos" folder. Photogoo will automatically load all images in this folder.

-The hardness at which the computer pen is pressed down does not control the width of the line. If you or your child is having difficulty drawing, moving the pen more slowly can be helpful.
-Be careful not to press the buttons on the computer pen.
-Be careful with the pen; it can be screwed apart and has a sharp piece on the inside

Activity Variations
A variation on this activity is multiple children taking turns manipulating the photo by passing it back and forth. This allows the children to practice turn taking and social collaboration.

Another activity that could be done is uploading a picture of the child and then asking them to express how they feel through manipulating their face in the photo, allowing them to express their own emotions in a tangible, visual way.

Both of these variations encourage sharing, a deeply social endeavor.

Questions? Contact Prof. Juan Pablo Hourcade at