Getting Ready for the Games

9, 10, 11, 12

This lesson will focus on basic camera terminology, the techniques used to frame successful photographs, and determination as to how photographers and their photographs can and are being used to promote the common good.

PrintTwo to Three fifty-five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • learn the basic terminology and operational/technical uses of the camera.
  • identify the parts and functions of a camera and how these can be used to produce pictures in a 'professional' and pleasing manner.
  • understand how photography can be used to contribute to the common good.
  • Various photos, magazine pictures, etc.
  • A Camera: SLR/Manual and/or Digital
  • Computer Lab with INTERNET Access
Home Connection 

None for this lesson.



  1. Anticipatory Set: As the learners enter the classroom, have on display a number and variety of photographs and pictures from magazines (These photos could include students, national figures, political unrest, natural disasters, buildings, etc.) under the caption: Do you Recognize These? Ask the learners to share what they like about the photo, i.e. color, framing, focus, etc.. Tell them that anyone can take a picture, but the manner in which it is done, often makes the difference in the quality of the picture. Have them briefly discuss what they like and dislike about the displayed pictures. Challenge them to identifythe photographer's intent. Ask how many of them own or have access to a camera and what kind of camera it is? Do they load their camera with film or a memory card? Have them recall the photo that they provided in the Lesson One and identify the type of camera that took that picture? Turn to the photograph/picture display and ask if they can tell you what type of camera took these pictures. (It is highly unlikely that they will know this information, so share with them that while camera types may differ, the important thing to remember is they all capture images, though perhaps in different ways.)

  2. Have the learners move to a computer lab with on-line access. ( If online computer access is unavailable to the learners, see the Bibliography below for sites from which this information can be downloaded and distributed to the learners.)

  3. Show the learners your SLR/Manual and/or Digital camera and explain that they will be using the Internet (or distributed information) to learn basic camera terminology and how a camera operates.

  4. Have the learners log on to for SLR/Manual camera terms and/or for Digital cameras. 

  5. Using your SLR/Manual and/or Digital cameraas a visual hands-on reference, have the learners open one of these sites (or refer to their handouts), click on the camera terms, then click the aperture and read the definition. Then show the learners where that particular part is located on the actual camera.

  6. Continue this process to introduce the other parts of the camera, noting that the digital terms go beyond the typical SLR/Manual camera parts. (For a list of camera parts and terms, see also Camera Terminology - Handout One)

  7. Teacher Note: Depending on the population and the depth to which you opt to bring the learner understanding, you will need to decide what and how much information is appropriate.)

    Camera Terms:


    Shutter Speed




    Color Temperature

    Compact vs. SLR

    Lenses and Focal Length


    Digital Camera Terms


    CCD and CMOS Sensors

    LCD screens

    Electronic Viewfinder

    Memory Cards

    TIFF, RAW and JPEG

    NiMh and Li-Ion Batteries

    Continuous Drives

    Panoramas and Movies

    Startup and Latency


  8. At the conclusion of this lesson, have the learners discuss how using a camera might contribute to the common good. (Have the learners reflect on ways that photos help to promote pro-social/philanthropic behavior when it comes to wars, famines, natural disasters, humane acts, etc... Perhaps one or more of the pictures you have displayed can be used as an example of how a photo/picture be used to produce an awareness, a feeling, a call to action. Be sure that the learners understanding that to convey awareness, feelings, and /or a call to action requires a photographer to do more than just snap a picture. Discuss why this might be so.)

  9. Conclude this lesson by having the learners think abouthow sharing their photos with the Special Olympics' participants might contribute to the common good. (You may have to review the definition of philanthropy given in Lesson One, but be sure that the learners understand that the sharing "talent' (and perhaps 'time'), in this case photos/photography helped to promote the pro-social behaviors of support and encouragement among their schools Special Olympic participants.)


An assessment of the learner's involvement in the classroom discussions and reflections as well as his/her on-task approach to the identification of the various camera parts, the identification and proper usage of camera terminology, as well as the understanding they display concerning the importance of photos to convey meaning will form the rubric by which the learner will be evaluated in this lesson.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Define philanthropy to include giving and sharing; volunteering; and private individual action intended for the common good. Explain how a volunteer individual/group can act for the common good.
      2. Benchmark HS.2 Identify and discuss examples of philanthropy and charity in modern culture.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
      2. Benchmark HS.5 Describe civil society advocacy organizations and their relationship to human rights.