Movement Photography

Children will tinker with cameras as they explore movement.

Lesson Objective

Children will tinker with cameras to explore movement and to create a digital work of art.


What You'll Need

  • A large, color reproduction or digital image of flight research #5 by Rosemary Laing – from the North Carolina Museum of Art website
  • Child-friendly digital cameras with memory cards
  • Interactive board or computer
  • Chart paper
  • Marker


What To Do

Note: Divide the children into small groups of 3–4 children.

  1. Display a camera, and ask the children to describe any experiences they may have had with using a camera.
  2. Introduce the image of the artwork, and ask the children to describe what they see.
  3. Ask the children what title they would give to the work of art.
  4. Share the title of the work of art, and ask the children why they think the artist chose this title.
  5. Tell the children that they will be using cameras to take pictures of their friends moving in different ways.
  6. Brainstorm a list of ways that the children can move safely in the classroom. Record responses on chart paper.
  7. Tell the children that they will work in small groups to photograph each other moving fast and moving slowly.
  8. Model how to use the camera, taking photographs first of a child moving fast and then of a child moving slowly.
  9. Allow each child to tinker with the camera. Teachers should supervise this examination.
  10. Children will take turns taking photographs and moving.
  11. Gather the children together, and project the captured photographs on the SMARTboard or computer (see Lesson Tips).
  12. Compare the photos of fast movement with the photos of slow movement. Discuss how the photos are different.
  13. Have the children compare their photographs with the focus work of art(see Guiding Student Inquiry).

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Tell me if you have ever used a camera. What did you do with it?
  • Explain what a camera is used for.
  • Describe the artwork.
  • Describe the photographs you took – how are they different? How are they similar?
  • Explain how your photograph is different from flight research #5.
  • Tell me how the photographs are the same.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • If photographs are printed, they can be bound to make a class book. Children can dictate titles as teachers write them on the photographs.
  • Provide props or dress-up clothes for the children to use when taking their turns with movement.
  • Keep a camera available in the classroom so children can photograph other classroom events. The photos can be sequenced for retelling.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children explain that a camera is used for taking photographs?
  • Could children describe the artwork?
  • Could children describe how their photographs are different and similar?
  • Could children compare their photographs with the focus work of art?


Did You Know?

A photograph is a way of capturing a single moment in time. In contrast, a video captures movement as a series of events that can be several seconds, minutes, or hours in length. Capturing movement in a photograph can be a difficult task. However, movement can be implied when a photograph shows suspended movement or blurred motion. When the subject of the photograph is moving fast, the image is quite blurry. A photo of the same subject taken while moving slowly will show a suspended movement, but it will be a much clearer image than the fast-moving photo.

Allowing children to handle cameras and take photographs can be a powerful learning tool. Children’s interest and motivation for learning can be increased by this type of hands-on activity. In addition, having children talk about and discuss the photographs they have taken can help encourage language development and can help build vocabulary.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • digital – information that comes from an electronic signal.
  • camera – a tool that makes photographs.
  • movement – a motion.
  • photography – the art of making pictures using a camera.
  • flight – the act of moving through the air.
  • research – the study and collecting of information about something.

Lesson Tips

  • If a printer is available, print the children’s photographs and display them. You can do a gallery walk with the children, allowing them to discuss their photographs.


  • The Kid’s Guide to Digital Photography by Jenni Bidner
  • Photo Time by Jenny Giles
  • Picture Day Perfection by Deborah Diesen
  • Click!: A Book About Cameras and Taking Pictures by Gail Gibbons

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

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Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS