Lessons

Lesson Plan: Citizenship Through Photography in Your Neighborhood

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In an elevator inside a government building in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2012.

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Image by Jana Ašenbrennerová.

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A manual laborer rests amid sacks of cocoa at Saf Cacao, the largest nationally owned cocoa exporter in Ivory Coast, in San Pedro, Ivory Coast. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2012

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Men cook breakfast at a cafe in Duekoue, Ivory Coast. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2012.

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Women wash clothes in the morning in Kameruka, Uganda. Image by Peter DiCampo. Uganda, 2012.

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A worker takes a break from his job at a cocoa processing plant in San Pedro, Ivory Coast. Image by Austin Merrill. Ivory Coast, 2012.

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Helene Maimoura stands amid the rubble of her former home in Niambli, Ivory Coast. Image by Austin Merrill. Ivory Coast, 2012.

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Young children play with tent poles at the Nahibly refugee camp outside of Duekoue, Ivory Coast. Image by Peter DiCampo. Ivory Coast, 2012.

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The grounds of the Royal Livingstone Hotel in Livingstone, Zambia. Image by Austin Merrill. Zambia, 2012.

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Vendors try to make sales to bus passengers traveling in rural Uganda. Image by Peter DiCampo. Uganda, 2012.

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A woman stands in the mist of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Image by Austin Merrill. Zimbabwe, 2012.

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A lab technician in a rural clinic in Kakuka, Uganda. Image by Peter DiCampo. Uganda, 2012.

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A woman walks through the "old taxi station" in Kampala, Uganda. Image by Peter DiCampo. Uganda, 2012.

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A foreigner purchases a mobile phone at a store in Garden City Shopping Center in Kampala, Uganda. Image by Peter DiCampo. Uganda, 2012.

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A burial site for hospital staff who died during a 2007 cholera outbreak in Bundibugyo, Uganda. Image by Peter DiCampo. Uganda, 2012.

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Two boys share a seat on a motorbike in a village near Blolequin, Ivory Coast. Image by Austin Merrill. Ivory Coast, 2012.

Citizenship in Your Neighborhood Through Photography:

1. Research your neighborhood using an Internet search engine.  What images and stories do you find?  Create a table to illustrate your findings.  Are they mostly positive or mostly negative?  If you were an outsider researching your neighborhood, what conclusions would you make based on the Internet search? Considering what you know about your neighborhood, what images and stories are missing from the Internet search? Record your findings in your binder.

2. Take a walk in your neighborhood with a friend or parent.  Use a smartphone or camera to take photos.  

3. Use the photos to help you tell a complex story of what is working in your neighborhood and what needs improvement in your neighborhood.  For example, if there is graffiti on a wall and trash on the side of a street, photograph it. If there is a park that is enjoyed by many, photograph that as well.

4. Next, write a professional letter to your alderman communicating your findings. Make sure you include the specific locations of the areas that need improvement so that hopefully you help facilitate change. The typed draft of your letter is due on Friday, September 25.

5. Create a visual (poster, diorama, etc.) that illustrates the nuances of your neighborhood and be prepared to show it in class.  Also bring a copy of the finished letter to class.

Miscellaneous notes

  • If you do not have access to a camera, make arrangements with your teacher to borrow one.
  • If you don’t know who your alderman is, use the City of Chicago’s website to find this information.

Educator Notes: 

A high school civics lesson that uses photography as a tool for neighborhood improvement.

This lesson plan was written for use in schools in the city of Chicago. Students in other areas can write to their local representatives.

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