This year, I have been making an effort to add more choice and student-directed learning to my curriculum. This unit grew as an extension of the 4th grade pinhole camera project. I needed a way to occupy the class while a small group of students scanned their pinhole images. The results were magical!
I chose to focus three centers on Andy Goldsworthy, Vik Muniz, and Tatsuya Tanaka. Each of these photographers creates compositions out of various objects that they then photograph. At each station, students watch a short video about the artist and answer three “post-it note questions.” I was delighted to hear students arguing about why one photographer was cooler than the other. They were truly analyzing the art without additional guidance from me!
The centers also include a book about the artist as well as a few laminated prints. The books I use include the following: Reflex, A Vik Muniz Primer, Small Wonders by Tatsuya Tanaka, and Andy Goldsworthy: A Collaboration with Nature.
Students are then challenged to design a photography project inspired by their favorite of the three photographers. Depending on their plan, students are invited to bring objects from home or borrow them from the art room for use during days 3 and 4 of the photography unit.