Behind the Camera

article by Cheryl Bullow , photo by Alamy

Learning Intention:

I am learning to identify and extract key points for a specific purpose so that I can arrange the information in a logical structure to meet that purpose.

Success Criteria:

  • I can answer questions based on my understanding from the text.
  • I can use this information to contribute to a collaborative plan for a wildlife photographer.
  • I can create my own plan independently / with a partner.

Understanding text:

Read the article, or if you have a digital subscription, you may wish to listen to the audio version. Afterwards, have the students think, pair and share using the following questions:

  • Why does it require patience to be a wildlife photographer?
  • What are some ways to blend into different surroundings? (e.g. jungle, desert, ocean)
  • In what ways can a photographer be a risk to wildlife?
  • In what ways can the wildlife be a risk to a photographer?
  • Why is it important to leave things such as branches, rocks and logs exactly as you find them?

Visit the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year website and scroll through some of the gallery photos with the class. Choose one to focus on and select it to read the description of how the image was captured. Using the information from ‘Behind the Camera’, ask students to pretend they are a wildlife photographer and discuss a plan for photographing the selected animal.

For example, you may choose a photograph of a lion. As a class, put together a collaborative plan for the photographer using the following questions as subheadings:

  • Where is the animal most likely to be found? (The African plains)
  • How can I hide myself in that environment? (Camouflage clothing, find a covered spot a safe distance away)
  • What equipment do I need? (A camera with a telephoto lens)
  • What danger could I pose? (A mother abandoning her cubs if she senses my presence)
  • What danger could they pose to me? (Being eaten!)
  • What kind of photos might I be able to get of this animal? (Sleeping, fighting, chasing prey, eating, running)

Inform students that they should now choose one of the photos from the website’s gallery that they would like to be the photographer for. Have them read the information for the photo, then put together a plan using the questions above. They may wish to do this with a partner or independently.

Assessment for/as learning:

Conduct a Gallery Walk of the students completed work.  Peers will be provided with post it notes to provide 3-4 specific points of feedback to other students. Peers providing the feedback will use the sentence stem “Have you considered……..?” to begin the peer review.

E.g. A point of feedback might include “Have you considered the environmental impact you might have by going into this pristine environment? What steps are you going to include to ensure that you leave the area the way you found it?”

Allow students time to review their peer feedback and to include this into the written responses. You might also like to provide opportunity for students to verbally respond to this feedback and suggest how they might incorporate it into their responses.