Today’s arts integration lesson uses photography in the classroom. This math and photography lesson is written for grades 5-8 due to its connection to the Math Common Core Standards (understanding and using ratios). This particular lesson uses digital photography and a grid system to understand composition. In addition to, translating that into a drawn piece of art. It’s highly engaging for both teachers and students and the resulting work is something you will want to proudly display. We hope you enjoy this lesson and look forward to your feedback as you implement it in your classrooms!
All students will complete a grid with equal blocks in each segment. Students will be able to describe the relationship of each area of the grid to the whole piece using number relationships (ie: There are 8 blocks in quadrant one. The whole grid contains 24 blocks. Therefore, quadrant one is one third of the whole grid).
Students will examine photographs of various portraits and overlay grids on top of each photograph by using rulers to measure and draw the grid lines. They can begin with large grids, separating the portraits into 9ths and gradually add more grids until the grid contains 1 inch blocks. Students can examine how the value and hue of the colors vary within each block, as well as where the focal point of the photograph is in relationship to the grid.
Activity: Students will each take a photograph of a peer in their class, choosing a focal point within the face to base their composition upon.
Transition: Students will upload their images to the computer, edit them with basic photo editing software to adjust contrast and sharpness and to crop the image and then print the image.
Closure: Students will make overlay a new grid on top of their own image using the same steps as in the engagement piece. Students will then compare and contrast what their intended focal point was to what appears within the grid.
Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.