Snapshots for the Science of Bridges

October 9, 2011 at 8:45 AM Leave a comment

Friday I finally figured it out in the genius moment between period 1 and 2. I hate that – having to re-design what looked like a perfectly good activity guide in 5 minutes AND get it Xeroxed in time for the next class. But also a little exciting 🙂

Instead of TELLING THEM ‘here are the steps to taking a good photograph’, I let go a bit and let them discover and ‘co-construct’ (buzz word to hate there) tips for better pics.

“What’s your favorite shot in a National Geographic?” I’m circulating and genuinely interested in which shots they loved and WHY – not just ‘it’s cool’, but what about it makes it so great? They were so enraptured with the articles and pictures that it was hard to tear them away, exactly what the photographers are aiming for – the intersection of art and information. Art and science, my favorite.

We got a list of tips to get us started – used the “Who has a photo that ….”(fill in the blank – uses color well, that leads your eye into the shot etc.) This was where I could shape the list of tips with some pro tips.

Then demo’ed how to move around an ordinary object – basketball hoop on the black top – and snap shots from all different angles.

Had them pull out their cell phones and explore the functions – zoom, settings or whatever – they helped each other, and how fun, getting to use cell phones in class.

Outside their challenge was to make an ordinary object look really cool. Naturally, they had to take mugging it up shots of them and their buddies, most were clearly engaged in the assignment and excited to show me what they captured. Nice to give each specific kudos or some gentle coaching.

Back in class, they shared their favorite shots – some great ones of a cloud in front of the sun framed by a basketball hoop, portenteous and dramatic, a pine cone about to be crushed under a car tire, the ‘No Parking’ sign right in front of wild lands, reflections in the drinking fountain, water frozen in a distorted mouth. SO cool to see the world through their eyes and share something I love to do.

Next time, I’ll try figuring out how to have them send the images to the mac and display their pics to the class.This time, I’m happy to have got to know them in such a different way and to have started the process to loosen up their creativity.

Now they are challenged to photograph a bridge in the Bay Area and this year, maybe there will be less overpasses snapped through a windscreen of their parent’s car. Maybe there will be some beauty, drama and science all mooshed up together in their shots. Stay posted…

Interested in learning more about this, and how to take better pics yourself? Come to ‘Snapshot Science‘ Ca Science Teachers Conference on Saturday 22nd Oct. in Pasadena. Also presenting workshops on The “Problems of Oil” Project and Introduction to Media Making for Science Learning with KQED QUEST. Would love to see you there!

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Entry filed under: Creativity, Inquiry and critical thinking, Physics Topics, Snapshot Science, Workshop Reports.

Data Analysis made Almost Interesting Feeling Forces – Making Bridges with Kids

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