Visual Arts: The Art of Photography: Scavenger Hunt

Lesson Plan: The Art of Photography: Scavenger Hunt
Grade level: 8-12
Duration: 5-7 class periods
Media Type: photography
Subject Integration: Literacy/Social Studies
National Standards for Visual Arts: (see bottom of page)
Objectives: To effectively use and understand a SLR camera

(website for help with writing rubrics)


4 - Standards are exceeded
3 - Standards are met
2 - Standards may be met at a very low quality or with some exceptions
1 - Standards are not met

Vocabulary (elements/principles):

  • color
  • shape
  • line
  • texture
  • balance
  • unity
  • proportion
  • form
  • value
  • space
  • contrast
  • emphasis
  • movement
  • pattern
  • rhythm

Photography vocabulary:

  • composition
  • focus
  • aperture
  • shadow
  • rule of thirds
  • chromatic
  • color
  • depth of field
  • zoom
  • pixels
  • exposure
  • f-stop
  • magnify
  • resolution
  • balance
  • SLR: Single Lens Reflex

Materials and Procedure:

Day 1:
Show works by some famous photographers, such as, Steve McCurry (Afghan Girl, National Geographic), Annie Leibovitz, Ansel Adams, Dorthea Lange (Migrant Mother, National Geographic), Jim Brandenburg, and noting local photographers is meaningful as well.

Share PlayList videos of various local photographers: (3:21) (3:31) (3:49) (3:10) (3:47)

Discussion: “What did you see?” “What did you notice?” “What stood out to you?” “What type of photography do you like best? Why or why not?”

Day 2:
Send students out for a ‘dry run’ using cameras. Discuss camera settings and basic usage. Explain scavenger hunt activity for Day 3. Allow students to practice using cameras; students will share cameras in groups of 2-4.

Day 3-5:
Send students out on photography scavenger hunt. See link:

Day 6:
Students choose and share 4 photos with the rest of the class from the scavenger hunt.

Discussion: “Was the scavenger hunt difficult or easy to complete? Why or why not?” “Were you surprised by what you found? Why?”

Day 7:
Students choose one photo for teacher to print and display. Display for other classes/students to view/enjoy/critique.

National Standards for Visual Arts:

VA:Cr1.1.Ia: Use multiple approaches to begin creative endeavors.
VA:Cr1.2.Ia: Shape an artistic investigation of an aspect of present- day life using a contemporary practice of art or design.
VA:Cr2.1.Ia: Engage in making a work of art or design without having a preconceived plan.
VA:Cr2.1.IIa: Through experimentation, practice, and persistence, demonstrate acquisition of skills and knowledge in a chosen art form.

Sample National Visual Arts Standards link:

Sample MN State Standards in Literacy in History / Social Studies: Integrate visual information (e.g., charts, graphs, photographs, videos, maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Click here for more information or visit the Minnesota Legacy website.

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