Photographic Memories

Summary

Students will use photographic techniques as a means to document and raise awareness of environments. Students will explain the importance of nature conservation and describe ways of sharing this message with others. Students will identify foreground and background in a composition.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

Students will use photographic techniques as a means to document and raise awareness of environments. Students will explain the importance of nature conservation and describe ways of sharing this message with others. Students will identify foreground and background in a composition.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Art

Grades

  • 9th
  • 10th
  • 11th
  • 12th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Four
  • Session Length: 90 minutes
  • Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Small groups
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

  • Basic composition (rule of thirds, leading lines, repetition, etc.)
  • Three-dimensional space
  • Basic digital camera operation (Point and Shoot, DSLR or cell phone)
  • Environmental and conservation awareness
  • Sketchbooks and journal entries
  • Photographic presentation (mounting, matting)
  • Thumbnail sketching
  • Perspective

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • Obverse (front)
  • Foreground
  • Middle ground
  • Background
  • Visualization

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency (or equivalent) of the 2015 America the Beautiful quarter reverse design
  • Copies of the following:
    • "Photographic Memories – Sketchbook Entry 1" worksheet
    • "Photographic Memories – Sketchbook Entry 2" worksheet
    • "Photographic Memories – Video Sketchbook Entry 3" worksheet
    • "Artist Research - Sketchbook Entry 4" worksheet
    • "Photographic Memories – Contact Sheet Sketchbook Entry 5" example
    • "Conserving My Space – Final Print Narrative" worksheet
    • "Photographic Memories – Rubric"
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Glue sticks
  • Sketchbooks
  • Digital camera or equivalent technology
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Class set of computers or computer lab with Internet access and a printer for one session
  • Websites that showcase environmentally inspired photography, such as:
  • Texts that showcase environmentally inspired photography, such as:
    • Ansel Adams in the National Parks: Photographs from America's Wild Places by Ansel Adams
    • Clyde Butcher, Portfolio I: Florida Landscapes by Clyde Butcher
    • Carleton Watkins in Yosemite by Weston Naef

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or equivalent) of the following:
    • "Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge quarter" page
    • "Photographic Memories – Sketchbook Entry 1" worksheet
    • "Photographic Memories – Sketchbook Entry 2" worksheet
    • "Photographic Memories – Video Sketchbook Entry 3" worksheet
    • "Artist Research - Sketchbook Entry 4" worksheet
    • "Photographic Memories – Contact Sheet Sketchbook Entry 5" example
    • "Conserving My Space – Final Print Narrative" worksheet
    • "Photographic Memories – Rubric"
  • Make copies of the following:
    • "Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge quarter" page
    • "Photographic Memories – Sketchbook Entry 1" worksheet (1/2 page per student)
    • "Photographic Memories – Sketchbook Entry 2" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "Photographic Memories – Video Sketchbook Entry 3" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "Artist Research - Sketchbook Entry 4" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "Conserving My Space – Final Print Narrative" worksheet (1/2 page per student)
    • "Photographic Memories – Rubric" (1 per student)
  • Bookmark Web sites that showcase environmentally inspired photography (see examples under "Materials").
  • Choose a video from the suggested sites and preview it to find scenes where you can pause it for the students to sketch in Session 1.
  • Locate texts that showcase environmentally inspired photographers (see examples under "Materials").
  • Arrange to use computer lab for Session 2.
  • Make a class chart with three columns labeled "foreground," "middle ground," and "background" for Session 1.

Worksheets

Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

Session 1

  1. Display and examine the "Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter" page. Locate this site on a class map. Note its position in relation to your school's location. As background information, explain to the students that the United States Mint began to issue the quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program in 2010. By the time the program ends in 2021, there will be a total of 56 designs. Each design will focus on a different national site — one from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
  2. Tell the students that the front of a coin is called the "obverse" and the back is called the "reverse." Tell students that Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 as a link in the chain of refuges extending from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. It is primarily a refuge and breeding ground for migrating birds and other wildlife. Tell the students that they are going to be learning how documenting natural resources with photography can raise environmental awareness.
  3. While examining the quarter, explain that three-dimensional space in a composition has foreground, middle ground, and background elements. Explain that foreground elements are closer to the viewer, background elements are farthest away, and middle ground elements are between foreground and background elements. Ask the students to discuss what they see in the image on the quarter's reverse. Explain that the coin image depicts a great blue heron and a great egret.
  4. Using a three-column chart, and with students working along in sketchbooks, identify as a class the elements found in the foreground, middle ground, and background of the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge quarter. Check sketchbooks for completion and understanding.
  5. Display the four other designs for the 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters program. Using the worksheet "Foreground, Middle Ground, and Background," have the students identify these elements in each design. Collect the worksheets.
  6. Display a video that shows scenes of natural environments like those listed under "Materials." Pause the video three times and have students work in their sketchbooks while identifying the foreground, middle ground and background elements present.
  7. Have students turn in their sketchbooks and explain that they will be learning more in the next session about three-dimensional space and about photographers who have used photography to document natural resources. Distribute the "Photographic Memories Rubric."

Session 2

  1. Have students review their sketchbooks from the previous session.
  2. Display the "Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter" page. Explain to the students that the quarter's design reflects efforts to conserve the environment that the birds live in, and that Bombay Hook's value and importance for migratory bird protection and conservation has increased through the years. Explain to the students that they will be examining the works of artists who used photography to document natural resources.
  3. Using texts like those listed under "Materials," read a passage or quote from a text that explains the motivation of a photographer to document a natural environment.
  4. Using computers (lab, laptop cart, or equivalent technology) and using links like those listed under "Materials," review photography that showcases natural resources and habitats.
  5. Have students individually research to find four photographs that document natural environments.
  6. Have students list the information from their research into their sketchbooks and label them with the photographer's name, the title of the work, the elements in the photograph, and the location where the photograph was taken.
  7. Define "visualization" as the process of envisioning a photograph before it is taken.
  8. Explain to the students that they will be visualizing a space that they will be photographing for homework. Ask the students to start a new page in their sketchbooks with two 4-by-6 spaces. In the first space, have the students sketch the perspective of the environment they will be shooting, including the foreground, middle ground, and background elements. Under the first thumbnail space, have the students write a three- to five-sentence narrative about why they feel this space should be preserved.
  9. Assign the students to take their sketchbooks and cameras or equivalent technology home and, while using their visualization as a guide, shoot 15 photographs according to their visualizations and also to shoot five to nine photos from different perspectives (20 to 24 total shots).?

Session 3

  1. Review the parameters for the previously assigned homework. Have students print contact sheets of their photographs and pick the one that most closely approximates the original 4-by-6 sketch visualization. Have the students paste their contact sheets in their sketchbook.
  2. Have the students print two 4"x6" copies of their chosen photograph, pasting one in the second space of their sketchbook next to their original visualization.
  3. Have students mount their second 4-by-6 photograph.
  4. Have students fill out the "Conserving My Space – Final Print Narrative" worksheet and paste it onto the back of the mounted print.
  5. Collect the final prints and sketchbooks.

Session 4

  1. Arrange gallery space in the school or another area for display. Have the students present their final mounted photo-graphs.
  2. After the presentations, have the students fill out the rubric, including the self-reflection.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have students work in pairs to identify elements in Session 1.
  • Have students ID only foreground and background elements.
  • Have students use another art form to communicate conservation of space.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Document an environment over time as it changes and the effect of those changes.
  • Have students identify foreground, middle ground, and background elements in other United States Mint coin designs.
  • Assign students the added element of "depth of field" in creating emphasis in compositions.

Assess

  • Use the rubric to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.9-10 Writing
Grade(s): Grades 9– 10
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.9-10.1. Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
    • Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
    • Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly, supplying evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level and concerns.
    • Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.
  • W.9-10.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
    • Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
    • Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
  • W.9-10.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
    • Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
    • Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative.

National Standards

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: 9-12 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Grade(s): Grades 9–12
Standards:

Proficient:

  • Students reflect on how artworks differ visually, spatially, temporally, and functionally, and describe how these are related to history and culture
  • Students apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life

Advanced:

  • Students describe the origins of specific images and ideas and explain why they are of value in their artwork and in the work of others
  • Students evaluate and defend the validity of sources for content and the manner in which subject matter, symbols, and images are used in the students' works and in significant works by others

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: 9-12 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Grade(s): Grades 9–12
Standards:

Proficient:

  • Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks
  • Students conceive and create works of visual art that demonstrate an understanding of how the communication of their ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes they use

Advanced:

  • Students communicate ideas regularly at a high level of effectiveness in at least one visual arts medium
  • Students initiate, define, and solve challenging visual arts problems independently using intellectual skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: 9-12 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Grade(s): Grades 9–12
Standards:

Proficient:

  • Students compare the materials, technologies, media, and processes of the visual arts with those of other arts disciplines as they are used in creation and types of analysis
  • Students compare characteristics of visual arts within a particular historical period or style with ideas, issues, or themes in the humanities or sciences

Advanced:

  • Students synthesize the creative and analytical principles and techniques of the visual arts and selected other arts disciplines, the humanities, or the sciences