Biodiversity is Beautiful right here!
I’m super excited to introduce kids to the intersection of science, ecology and aesthetics, my absolute favorite thing in the world. A nice antidote to “Boundaries for a Healthy Planet” aka tipping points we’ve already ()&*(&_-ed up.
Just tweaked a photo assignment to reflect what we ACTUALLY did (Rather than the basics plus ‘oh, you have to remember this and this bit of the lesson. Hate that. Forget from one year to the next and getting into the habit of editing activities right away to capture hints etc. Note to self: Run off just enough for FIRST period so you don’t waste the rest of the dud copies.)
So here’s the plan: Collect your own landscape pics and include some that have human impact clearly visible. Have some technically good and some crap ones (blurry, over or under exposed) Include a couple of good ones – your own or some professional photographs from magazines. Or just use magazines.
Kids sort them by which are wild lands and which have human impact, which are sharp, which have an interesting foreground, the ‘rule of thirds’, properly exposed and which one makes them FEEL something. That was the most interesting q. for them and me. Obvious, and sad how little I ask them this kind of q. in science – what I feel is what I remember.
Then they explored their own cameras and settings. We went outside and they compared pics taken with zoom and without, holding the camera in different ways, sun behind them, in their face and on their ear. Digital photography is the bomb. They can instantly see what they did and which technique works best. Or they would if they could stop taking silly pics of their nostrils and their friends 🙂
Wrapped it up in class and they are off to make their posters. The activity sheets for this and other biodiversity assignments are uploaded on my homework site.
We also de-briefed questions from the Biodiversity Intro sheet like ‘Why has biodiversity risen over the last 600 million years?” I was so stunned that several kids had ideas about speciation and the more species, the more possible species that could evolve. One even said that more species make for a more complex world where there are more niches (or words to that effect.) I am honestly stunned with how smart they are, and how much I sometimes underestimate them.