Water and Global Responsibility stem unit lp19 Photo Essay Lesson Plan 19: Photo Essay

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Storyboarding 1 hour

  1. Tell students, that just like the students in Haiti, they are going to create a story with photographs about how they use water.

  2. Brainstorm the different ways that we use water.

  3. Ask students how they could convey these uses of water in as few images as possible. Discuss suggestions.

  4. Explain to students that they will work in groups to create a storyboard about how they use water with as few images as possible. They can use the storyboard to plan and sketch the type of photos they want to take.

  5. Provide an example of how to sketch one use of water on the storyboard.

  6. Divide students into groups.

  7. Ask them to decide on one use of water per group member that they want to photograph.

  8. Ask them to sketch the water uses thinking about how many images they will need. For example, if it was watering your lawn, could you show it in just one image or do you need multiple images? If it was dishwashing how many images would you need?

  9. Circulate and observe the storyboards, providing direction and feedback when necessary. Ensure that all group members agree with the images selected.

  10. When students have completed the storyboard, ask them to divide up the responsibility for taking the photos among group members. Some groups may decide that each person will photograph one use of water. Most of the photos will need to be taken from home.

Preparing PowerPoints 3 hrs

  1. Once students have taken their images, ask them to create individual PowerPoints. Note, this will require approximately 2 hours of computer lab time.

  2. Ask students to merge individual power points with group members then manipulate order for flow. This will require approximately 1 hour of lab time.

Sharing and Comparing 2hrs

  1. When the PowerPoint presentations are complete ask students to share them with the full group. Ask them to be as brief as possible in their groups.

  2. Ask students to fill out the self-assessment form once all groups are done.

  3. Ask students to discuss the similarities and differences that they observed between the way students use water in Haiti and how they use water.

  4. Ask them to compare the way they conveyed their water stories with how the youth in Haiti conveyed their stories.

Review 20 min

  1. Ask student to write a journal reflection about the comparison between their water stories and the water stories of the youth in Haiti.


A storyboarding template can be found on Wikipedia at:

A student handout for this assignment can be found at the end of this lesson.


  • Self-evaluation of group work (see below)

  • Two optional teacher assessment forms are provided below. One is in a rubric and the other in a marking sheet. The criteria for assessment are slightly different in each sheet. Select the criteria and form best suited to your needs and share it with students at the beginning of the project.

Teacher Reflections
The voice of the kids in Haiti really came through in this lesson. It is a powerful way for our kids to really see what Haiti was like from a peer. This lesson is also a really great way to get a feeling for different technological abilities amongst students.

Photo Essay Name:__________________
In this assignment you will work in small groups to photograph different uses of water, and present them in a PowerPoint presentation. Your goal is to photograph the uses of water in as few images as possible, while trying to tell a story through pictures.

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