Create a post from the types below.
Capture Words in Nature
Getting Outside and Getting Creative
Teaching students about the world around them through the lens of environmental science is one of my favorite things to do. Building word recognition while experiencing the outdoors is key to their learning.
In Environmental Science, creating a connection between photos taken by my students and the key terms they are required to learn has done just that. I initially discovered this when providing my students with the above example during our soil composition unit. Images of sand, silt, and clay - the main component net that makeup differing soil structures - photos of real-world samples from around our campus.
Seeing the different particles, along with their relative size in the GIF above, really a strong connection to the material. The overwhelmingly positive response I received meant having them create their own for our next unit was a must!
Making Word Art
To start this activity, my students and I took a walk around our school’s campus to capture as many pictures of different plants/flowers as possible. We were beginning to discuss plant anatomy, so this was a great way to engage them.
Back in class, the students were randomly given a part of plant that was to be their topic for the activity; they were going to make a word art image for that selected piece of plant anatomy. The learners were directed to make a new presentation in Keynote. Inside of that presentation they were shown how they can set the text of an image to be a picture using the format tool. From their my students ran with it!
The Word Art Results
I had three different ways the learners completed the activity as they worked. The first was the ‘full word photo’. This had the learner use a single photo that spanned the entire term that they had written out. This seemed to work well visually for shorter words and pictures that the students took where the part in question was taking up the entire frame.
The second was the ‘first letter photo’, where they only applied the photo text background to the first letter of the term. This could be done by separating the word into two text boxes: one with the first letter inside and the other with the remaining letters. One nice thing I saw from these examples was the point of emphasis it provided. It allowed for the first letter to be in a different font, size, and background from the rest of the letters. Below is a sample following this pattern; you can see that your eye is drawn to the detail in the first letter.
The last version I saw was the ‘every letter photo’, where they applied different photos to each letter in the word. To do this, they made each letter in the word have its own text box so they could be different from one another. Again I noticed this being used for shorter terms, as my students would have needed more photos of the same object to do this for a longer word. This approach did bring about some good conversation about being able to compare and contrast different versions of the same pictured plant part. For example, below, you can see an example of this done with the word leaf. Each letter is a leaf from a different plant, so you have a mixture of textures and colors present.
Looking ahead at doing this activity with other classes, I gathered a few tips.
- First I am going to give the students a short list of fonts that worked best. Impact, Helvetica Bold, or another wide lettered option showed more of the pictures that were taken by the students. Coupled with making the font take up as much of the slide as possible made for the greatest amount of the pictures to be shown.
- Second I would take pictures where the subject of the photo takes up the entire camera frame. This helped to make sure that no matter the letter and/or word that is going to be filled in contains the image.
Overall my students and I really enjoyed this activity. It got them outside and drew connections to what we discussed in class. I will definitely use this activity in my other classes as well. For example, in computer science, why not use word art to build an association with the different internal components? Or in architecture use this activity to show examples of stylistic choices or building properties. The applications are endless!