Cute but Deadly
Dousing Paper wit...
A Refreshing Suprise
Candle flames are beautiful and campfires are comforting. But fire can also burn down a house or blister careless fingers. Throughout history, fires blazed through our forests, cities, poetry, and dreams. What does fire destroy and what does it leave behind? Why does it fascinate us?
Take a look at these red-hot words to get a better idea of what we’re talking about. Pick one and create an original GIF image that illustrates the definition of the word. Check out our examples of definition GIFs in the Resources Tab.
GIFs are short, moving images that loop continuously, so think carefully about your visualization. Your GIF must present both the word and part of speech graphically on screen. Get creative with looping, time manipulation, stop-motion or any other interesting film device.
Choose one of these eight words: charred, seared, smoldering, extinguished, ember, engulf, flambeaux, douse.
Your GIF must:
Thought starter: Have you ever picked up a burnt matchstick, or drawn a picture with a stick of charcoal? This smeary black substance is left when an object is charred. Make a GIF that shows a burnt object turning black.
Pro tip: Writers use charred to describe things damaged by fire, but not totally destroyed. A stick used to poke a campfire will be charred by flames.
Thought starter: Even the briefest touch of fire can melt plastic surfaces, give you a blister, or scorch the hair off your arm. Brands are seared into the skin of cattle. People say that shocking images are seared into their eyes or memory. Make a GIF that shows how something burning hot can leave a permanent impression.
Pro tip: Writers use seared after a surface is quickly burned by extreme heat. You can pull a seared steak off the hot grill.
Thought starter: Have you ever held your hand near hot coals after a fire burns down? You can feel the smoldering heat, even without visible fire. The flames would return if you added fuel and air. Make a GIF that shows this kind of sleeping fire, or fire waiting to flare up.
Pro tip: Writers use smoldering to describe something that isn’t flaming right now, but perhaps recently was — and might flame up again. A smoldering conflict can continue for a long time before it bursts into violent action.
Thought starter: Fire extinguishers spray chemical foam that puts out fires. Many fires can be extinguished with water, or a layer of dirt, or blankets that smother the flames. Make a GIF that shows a fire being totally extinguished.
Pro tip: Writers also use extinguished to talk about dreams, hopes, or feelings that have been destroyed. Anything lively and bright — that shares these fire-like qualities — can be extinguished.
Thought starter: An ember is a small, live coal. It is what’s left of an old fire, and it has the power to start a new fire. Make a GIF that shows how fire’s bright, showy flames eventually die down to create an ember.
Pro tip: Writers mostly use the word ember to describe the glowing remains of a fire. An ember develops after a fire burns for a while; they glow and give off heat but not smoke.
Thought starter: A small bush fire may quickly grow to engulf an entire forest. When describing a house fire, someone might say the building was engulfed in flames. Make a GIF that shows what happens when flames engulf an object.
Pro tip: Writers use engulf to describe what happens when a force completely swallows, covers up, or surrounds something. Engulf can be used when describing the effects of a fire or a flood.
Thought Starter: Flambeaux are burning torches. In the movie Frankenstein, the villagers carry pitchforks and flambeaux as they chase the monster through the night. A medieval dining hall may be lit with numerous flambeaux. Create a short GIF of burning flambeaux.
Pro tip: Flambeaux and flambeau are originally French words. They aren’t common words, but Edgar Allen Poe used flambeaux in his short story “The Cask of Amontillado,” to set the scene of the ancient crypt the narrator and his enemy, Fortunato, find themselves in.
Thought Starter: Have you ever had to put out a fire quickly? A camper may douse her campfire with water before leaving her campsite. A quick-thinking chef may douse a burning cooking pan with baking soda to put out a grease fire. Make a GIF of someone who decides to douse something in water.
Pro tip: Douse can mean both “plunge quickly into water” and “put out a fire or a light.” The origin of the word douse is unknown.
In your GIF image that is less than 5 MB, you must:
Finalist and Winner Judging Criteria:
GIFs are evaluated based on the following criteria, weighed equally:
Prizes per contest vary. In the case of winners under the age of 18, prizes will be awarded to a legal parent or guardian. Rules for each contest explain how and when we will notify you and the date the prizes will be announced. Prizes are awarded at Amplify’s discretion and are subject to the applicable district and school policies. Prizes for teachers may be awarded via DonorChoose.org.
In this contest we will be awarding one Grand Prize, seven Word Winner prizes, and one Honorable Mention Prize. All prizes amounts are in USD where applicable.