Grade: K-7 (Gifted and Talented)
"Every student I teach has requested photography to be one of the major areas of study to be undertaken next year. I don't think they'll ever tire of learning with photography."
During the project, the students studied several books of professional photographic collections as well as family photos, learned about the operation of a 35 mm camera and how to process film and make prints, took their own photographs on field trips, and wrote about their photographs. Their work was exhibited at both schools from which the group was drawn.
Bader introduced several books of photographs to spur discussion about the emotions photos can generate, while also focusing on the geographic and environmental elements of the pictures. She then took students on "an observation and photographic expedition," during which they pointed out interesting lines, shapes, and textures, looked at subjects from different angles and distances, and took pictures of what they saw.
The students became aware of the use of photographs for scientific documentation by viewing a slide presentation on an archaeological dig and studying a research report from a nearby mosquito research center that made use of microscopic photography.
To learn about processing film and making prints, the students visited a local camera center. They also visited an art store to learn about framing, but their most exciting field trip was a nature walk and cook out at a campfire camp, where they took photos of nature scenes. The youngsters then put their knowledge to work by processing the negatives of these photos and making prints in a darkroom at one of the participating schools.
The final activity was for each student to write a story or poem about at least one of the photos he or she had taken during the project.
Materials and equipment included darkroom equipment, Kodak developing chemicals and photographic paper, KODAK TRI-X Pan and PLUS-X Film, KODACHROME Slide Film, and a 35 mm camera. Some students used family cameras.
Although Bader believes that her use of photography to spur interdisciplinary
learning could be applied by most teachers, she thinks it is especially
helpful in unifying activities to suit the varied age and interest
levels of a gifted and talented group.