Human Camera Activity
This is an engaging activity for students of all ages to foster trust, communication, teamwork, and attention to detail in the school garden. For curriculum connections, use the Human Camera activity to jumpstart art or journaling lessons that challenge memory retention.
Bandannas (cloth, long sleeve shirts) for half of the students.
Journal (or paper) and pen
- Divide the class into groups of two. Students will take turns being the Photographer and the Camera. The Photographer will use the bandanna or other cloth to blindfolding their partner (the Camera).
- With as little talking as possible, have the Photographer walk carefully and cautiously through the garden with the Camera, constantly communicating their course as they are walking.
- The Photographer will select a subject to "photograph," then positions the Camera physically to line up the shot. This could mean getting down on the ground to get a close-up of a ladybug, or standing up to capture a tree bud at eye level.
- To "take the picture," the Photographer taps the Camera on the shoulder. The Camera removes the bandana and opens her eyes for three seconds, then replaces the blindfold.
Have the Camera take three different pictures and then switch roles. When finished, gather students to discuss the images the Cameras captured.
Review & Discussion
- Did you notice a change in the detail level from your first, second, and third capture?
- How did your attention to detail change? Why?
- Did you see any objects in a different light? Specify.
- Did you learn something about your partner through the exercise?
- Can you identify a theme or relationship among the images you saw?
- Which of the three snapshots is your favorite image?
- What was it like being blindfolded and physically set up as a Camera?
- What was it like being the Photographer and having to guide your blindfolded partner?
- Do you have suggestions for how your Photographer might improve their communication to the Camera?
Feel free to add other questions about the students' perceptions as the discussion flows. If time allows, have students sketch or write about the details of the images they captured, with or without a second visit to the subjects. If minor communication problems arise during the activity, discuss them at the end of the exercise.
Tips for Facilitators
- Ensure students stay within a specified area, and make sure you can see them at all times.
- Based on the group dynamic, you may select the pairs or have students choose for themselves.
- Remind students that this is an exercise in communication as well as observation and memory. We all know how we feel safe and the rate at which we like to be kept informed, especially if we are relying blindly on our peers.
- Since this is also an exercise in trust and communication, some groups will need examples of appropriate conduct. Cameras are more likely to be led to their destination silently when they feel comfortable and safe with their Photographer.
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About National Garden Month
Ah April, our National Garden Month! Deciduous trees with tender green new leaves, rose bushes bursting with buds and energy, seeds suddenly sprouting in our gardens. After another winter, gardening liberates us, makes us feel whole again. Let’s get some real dirt under our fingernails!"-- Tom Ogren, Director, The Society for Allergy-Friendly Environmental (SAFE) Gardening
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