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Photojournalism: Documenting the Four Greatest Threats to Global Sustainability

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Keywords: environmental science, photojournalism, sustainability
Subject(s): Science
Grades 9 through 12
School: Andrews High School, High Point, NC
Planned By: Ken Gracz
Original Author: Ken Gracz, High Point
ENGAGEMENT: The teacher shows students photos of the Cuyahoga River Fire of 1952, the Bhopal, India Disaster of 1984, a field showing industrial agricultural monoculture crops, and deforestation in Amazonia. The students are asked why the photojournalist chose these specific shots to get his visual story across.

EXPLORATION: The teacher and students take a walk around the campus and surrounding neighborhood of the school. The students brainstorm about possible photo topic ideas based what they are observing.

EXPLANATION: Students work in teams of two over the ensuing two weeks to photograph examples that would relate to the threats to global sustainability. Students perform this activity as independent teams outside of the classroom. The student teams then explain to the class as a whole how each of their photo topic ideas and representative photos can be related to the four greatest threats to global sustainability.

ELABORATION: The students will display their photos for their classmates to see in a gallery-type activity. Students will write an essay indicating their understanding of the concept of sustainability and their choice of four pictures from the whole gallery that best indicate a threat to sustainability, and how the threats are interconnected.

EVALUATION: Evaluation is performed using the student team presentation of their photojournalism portfolio and final individual student essay.
No other items are requested at this time
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
The PhotoLab can be used to document the progressin andd completin of other types of science inquiry projects in biology, earth science, and chemistry.
The students will pick the environmental threat that they consider the most serious, and develop a second photojournal focusing on this threat only. The students will include essay-type entries indicating how the photos they took indicate that their choice was indeed the most serious threat.
Links: My Web Link
Materials: Digital Cameras, Mobile Labs