stages of bread
waiting for the
dough to rise, by
Carolina S. Tucker,
Gaining a working knowledge of these
programs will also help your child develop software skills that she can use in
Photography presents many wonderful
opportunities to teach science. Children
are naturally inquisitive, and the scientific method is similar to their own process of exploring and discovering things.
There are many ways to use a camera
from a very early age to practice the steps
in the scientific method and to formalize a process of inquiry: collecting data,
. . . Learning about
the work of important
view of major events
in history, which
in turn makes
history come alive
for your child.
comparing and contrasting, studying
cause and effect, documenting change
over time, and presenting conclusions.
Using photography to enhance your
science curriculum is a great way to get
your feet wet because of the natural ties
to the scientific method of investigation. This, in turn, can lead to the use of
photography as you teach other subjects,
such as writing and math.
Social Studies & History
Two of the most logical places to incorporate photography into your curriculum are social studies and history. Photography has made an incredible impact
on human history in the past 150 years.
The invention of the camera and its subsequent developments have led to other
inventions, such as motion pictures, film,
video, X-rays, and digital imaging. There
is no doubt that cameras have had a major impact in altering the course of human history, and the historical implications are broad.
Beyond the invention of the camera
itself, certain photographs and photographers over the years have also had a
significant impact. Who can forget the
iconic images of Walker Evans, Gordon
Parks, and Dorothea Lange taken during
the Great Depression? Civil War photographers such as Mathew Brady helped
bring the realities of the battlefield to
the towns and cities far away and helped
people see what the soldiers were experiencing in a graphic way. Ansel Adams
photographed the beauty of creation
while breaking new ground with the
use of photography as an art form. During the Vietnam War, photojournalists
brought home images that solidified an
antiwar sentiment in this country, and
more recently, portrait photographers
such as Richard Avedon and Annie Li-ebovitz have captured our attention with
iconic images of human emotion.
To introduce photography as a theme
unit in history, your child can study the
biographies of early inventors of the
modern camera. Of particular note is
the story of George Eastman, who made
photography more accessible to every-
one by inventing the portable camera
and film. History is often portrayed as a
series of dates and events to be memo-
rized; therefore, learning about the work
of important photographers gives a
behind-the-scenes view of major events
in history, which in turn makes history
come alive for your child.
Social Studies—Current Events
Photography provides a nice segue from
history into current events and social
studies. Anthropologists and sociologists
have long used photography to document their studies, and your child can
use photography to document events in
his or her life and report on them as well.
You can also use photography to inspire
children to look through newspapers or
news websites to find images that impact
them. It must be noted, however, that
you must use extreme discernment, because many photos can be very graphic
in depicting death, human emotion, and
destruction, and this sometimes includes
the naked human form.
Language Arts & Writing
Over the years studies have been conducted in which researchers gave cameras to young children. The findings
showed that by taking photos, children
gained a better grasp of communication as a whole, and when a child took
a picture it inspired him to share it with
others. This led to better verbal communication and increased writing skills.
Researchers also were able to learn a lot
about what children were thinking by
evaluating the photographs they took.
Using photographs is a great way to
prompt creative writing. When your
child takes a photo, ask her to describe it
or explain why she took that shot.
Photography can be used to teach an
object lesson in point of view. Go out
in the yard, choose an object to photograph, and instruct your child to shoot
it from the point of view of an ant or
a giant or as the thing itself. If you go
to an event, have your child take photos during different stages of the event.
Then, when you get home, have her put
the photos in order and write a caption
about what is happening in each photo.
This is a great way to practice describing
a sequence of events.
A very simple way to begin a study of
photography is to start a photo journal
or a photo blog with your child. Seeing his photos online and sharing them