Teaching Technology & Creativity Through The Arts

Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan Title

Human Camera - Learning Photographic Camera Process of Exposure


Tableaux, Teacher in Role, Mantle of the Expert, Hot Seat, and Rhythm

Art Concepts: Drama

Mantle of the Expert


"Where educators have the advantage - and the opportunity - is in involving students in the production, in making them the stars. If the classroom becomes a learning stage where teachers become the audience and the critic, and the students assume the roles of playwrights, actors, set designers, lighting crew, and so forth, students will learn to think imaginatively, and they will become excited about learning."
Burmark, L. (2002)

" Drama is about making significant meaning."
Heathcote, D. and Bolton, G. (1995).

"This all became possible through the use of drama. Not the performance of plays or acting out of stories, but the sort of drama in which students together imagine in order to learn." Wilhelm, J., and Edmiston, B. (1998).


Learn elements of photographic exposure


Approximately 20-30 Minutes

Standards / Arts EALR's

1.1 Understand arts concepts and vocabulary.
1.2 Develop arts skills and techniques.
2.1 Apply a creative process in the arts.
2.2 Apply a performance process in the arts.
3.1 Use the arts to express and present ideas and feelings.
3.2 Use the arts to communicate for a specific purpose.


Content Skills

Basics of camera functions including: light, exposure, lens aperture, shutter speed, and film emulsion / computer chip sensor interrelationship

Needed Resources

Internet for research, magazines, hardware props to demonstrate the parts, White Board

Hear, See, Say, Do the Concept

Acting as teacher in role of a mad scientist / 19th century photographer, write the essential elements needed to make a picture on the white board. Act excite as if the character has just discovered how a camera works. Talk about the need to create a functional camera that people can use. Set out to build a prototype. Include the sun (light), the lens aperture (pupil), the shutter (eye lids), and silver oxide on film (brain). Point to each of the elements and say it. Have the students say it back as they look at the component. Second time through, have them say the term and make a movement for each component, the sun, lens, shutter, and film as they repeat it back.


Hold up real cameras and point to the parts, hold up film and have them say and move to it.


Describe how the camera works including all parts and how they integrate to make a complete system. Explain the history of the camera, film, and explain the pinhole camera.


Divide the class into four groups, one for each element. Have the students act out what part they represent. The movement should demonstrate the function of the component. Then have all the students play their part in sequence. First the suns are shining, then the lens apertures are opening or closing in response to the amount of sunlight, next the shutters are opening and closing either quickly or slowly depending on the sunlight and the aperture movements, lastly, the film reacts to the other three groups. Have the events occur to a rhythm that will be kept by student volunteers. Try the sequence faster and slower.

Developing Skills

Have the groups form a complete camera system, one sun, lens, shutter, and film. Hold up a picture and have each camera take a picture of various scenes. Try night shots, still life, portrait, action shot, nature, and close up. Using rhythm to time all the components, demonstrate how the lens gets bigger, the shutter moves faster and slower, multiple shutter movements, the film reacts fast or slower, etc.


Have each team choose two images to "shoot". One of the images should be a human tableau made up of people from another group. Have the camera groups compose a rhythm for each image.


Review the Four A's Of Audience. Have each person present his or her person. Have the class give feedback after each presentation. Enjoy.

Review and Evaluation

Go over the camera system again and answer any questions. Have students journal in detail what they learned from the experience.

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