Put Those Ubiquitous Smartphones to Use for Learning (or Try Some Inexpensive Disposable Cameras for Younger Students)
Photography is a great subject to teach. It is a fantastic skill for children of all ages to learn. Teaching photography can have many benefits. It can help boost a student's creativity and imagination. Moreover, it can also give them focus and help improve their concentration. Finally, it is a valuable skill that they can use in later life.
Creative educators can also look for ways to tie photography into different subject areas – think about it, science, geography, math, languages – these are all around us!
This can be a great way to put those ever-present smartphones to good uses to (although that should be limited to students of the right age – for elementary school kids, it would probably be better to use inexpensive disposable cameras).
Knowing how to teach photography can be tricky, however. You must try and be creative and develop interesting classes that your students will enjoy. Continually creating new projects and class ideas can be difficult! Fear not, we can help! In the below sections, we have listed 8 awesome photography projects for school students.
Class Photo Walks
What could be better than heading out into the great outdoors and exploring with your class? A class photo walk provides many benefits. First and foremost, students can actively use their cameras in a myriad of different situations. You could walk through a forest, into your local town, or other points of interest for example. Whilst there, you can encourage them to look for unique compositions and try out different camera settings.
Secondly, it is a great way to keep your students active and encourage them to partake in a little exercise. We understand how difficult it can be for children to stay active in today’s modern world. Taking a weekly class photo walk can really help – they can appreciate the outdoors, and stretch out their legs!
A Day in Life
This is an extremely fun project that all your children can partake in. Furthermore, it is an activity that is not confined to the classroom. A Day in the life is exactly as the name states. Your students must take various photos throughout their day. This aims to show a personal snapshot of their life and the type of things they do.
A day in the life can really inspire creativity in your students. Many of the shots will be simple such as photos of food, or photos of their house. Some students will go out of their way to create interesting photos or put themselves in fun positions. The resulting creations can be extremely diverse and intriguing.
10 Weeks Project
This can be a project over the course of a quarter or term (adjust to the number of weeks applicable to you) – can you see where this project is heading? Each week, you set your students a different challenge. There are many templates and ideas that you can find online for this. Examples of ideas could include self-portrait, flowers, hands, textures, and water.
When creating this project, you can pick challenges that test your student's technical skills. For example, one week could be a long exposure challenge – this will help them learn about exposure and shutter speeds. Alternatively, you could set a challenge of night photography – this would help them learn about ISO and stability.
A-Z Photo Chart
This project will really push your students to their creative limits. The premise is simple – you create a large board with spaces on. Each space represents a letter of the alphabet – A through to Z. Your students must then fill each space with a photo that corresponds to the shape of the said letter. This might seem simple, but finding such shapes can be a real challenge!
To understand what we mean, think of the following examples. The letter C could be represented by the handle of a coffee mug. Alternatively, the letter E could be represented by the end of a fork. As you can see it is not easy! Your children will have fun exercising their creativity. They will also gain hands-on experience using their cameras.
The theme project is similar to the 10-week challenge, but each student is given a separate theme to photograph. For example, one student may have to take black and white photos. Another student may have to experiment with selective color photography. There is any number of different themes you can set such as macro, long exposure, and portraits – anything related to photography!
You can use a project such as this to help your students learn about different photographic skills. If each student has a different theme, your whole class could potentially be learning about a host of new photographic techniques and camera settings.
The Gratitude challenge is both heart-warming and fun. It helps students remain positive and look for good things in life. Each student must think about their lives and see what makes them happy and smile. Once they have identified these things, they must then photograph them!
As you would imagine, this type of challenge promotes positivity and it helps children to see all of the good things they have in their lives. You will be surprised at the different subjects they photograph and it is interesting to see what makes the students smile!
Photojournalism is the practice of communicating the news through the medium of photography. This is a great project for students as they can exercise their journalism skills whilst also learning about photography. They could choose current affairs that are prominent in the news. Or choose a subject of their own that they must create a report on using photos. It can be a shot reportage of one event that they find significant or important, or the long-term project about the subject that bothers them – even social, environmental or other problems.
A nice simple project – portraits. You can take this in any number of directions. Firstly, the project could revolve around class portraits. I.e. each student has to take a photo of everyone else in the class. The photos would have to be creative.
Secondly, the project could revolve around family members. Each student would have to photograph their family members in a range of different poses. Thirdly, you could set them a random person portrait challenge. Your students would have to approach random people and obtain their portrait – obviously, this would be supervised! The portraits could then be made into a wall display or college in your classroom. You could also teach students editing techniques to alter the style of their portraits – into black and white compositions for example.
Your head should now be bursting with fantastic project ideas. Why not utilize a selection of these projects to give your students variance during their photography classes, or in other classes? They will learn valuable photography skills but also have immense fun in the process.