Abstract Although animations are believed to be effective in learning and teaching, several studies have failed to confirm this. Nevertheless, animations might be more attractive and motivating. Fourth and sixth grade students learned the operation of a bicycle pump from graphics that were: (i) presented simultaneously; (ii) presented successively; (iii) self-paced, or (iv) animated. The presentation mode affected evaluation of perceived comprehensibility, interestingness, enjoyment and motivation, but not comprehension test score. Fourth graders who were low in need for cognition rated the animations as more enjoyable and motivating, whereas sixth graders rated self-paced graphics as more interesting and motivating. The evaluations of sixth graders correspond to results of many studies on learning. Animations are not more effective than equivalent static graphics in learning, and they are not seen as more motivating by sixth graders.