Remember those CG 3D modeled fantasy landscapes that blew us all away about... a decade or more ago? The Bryce software used to create them is now FREE. Yes, legally FREE. It is not the latest version, but if you have been wanting to introduce your CG students to 3D animation software, this is a good gateway. You create a "wire mesh" frame, put a skin on it, control the lighting and see it in multiple directions, and even give it simple movement. It is easy to make your own landscape and 3D objects, after you spend time figuring out how it works.
The only drawback is the slow rendering time, so you need to plan how to render overnight, maybe encouraging the students to download the free version at home as well and using a flash drive, take their work home to render.
You need to go to the DAZ 3d website first, go to support, create an account and request your free serial number. Then you can download it for free at downloads.com
Check out the demo reel .