Wildlife Photographer of the Year Stages 4- 5 Teachers Notes

Information for teachers of Stages 4-5 who are preparing students for a self-guided exploration.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 #5

 © Cyril Ruoso/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011

Before Your Visit

  • Excursion essentials - booking, free teacher's pass, lunch and practical tips.
  • Determine which activities would best suit your students’ needs from the list of suggested on-site activities. If necessary, adapt them for your students' stage level and subject matter.
  • Familiarise students with any relevant concepts and terms before visiting the exhibition. These may relate to the diversity of animals and habitats, animal interactions and behaviours, environmental issues, history and practice of photography or the artistic presentation of images.
  • Make sure that students have the necessary materials to complete the activities you choose. Pencils, paper and cameras (digital, disposable or 35 mm, depending on the stage and subject) are required for some of the suggested excursion activities.
  • Photocopy the appropriate student activity sheets.

Syllabus links

The activities for Wildlife Photographer of the Year complement NSW Stage 4-5 Science and English, Stage 4 Visual Arts, and Stage 5 Photographic and Digital Media syllabuses. Detailed syllabus links.

At the Museum

Some student activities combine multiple subjects. Activities are divided according to their main subject areas and ordered in increasing difficulty.

Stages 4-5 English 
  • Compose a descriptive narrative based on the photograph of your choice. Engage all of the senses of your intended reader in order to communicate what it would be like to be a part of that scene. Imagine that you are the photographer capturing this scene or the animal photographed and write your narrative from that point of view. 
  • Study a photograph that shows the interaction between animals. If these animals could talk, what would they say to each other? Write a brief play (including what the animals would say and do) that describes the scene captured in the photograph.
 Stage 4 Visual Arts
  • Choose any photograph and record its title. What feelings and thoughts do you think the photographer was trying to inspire with this image? Why?
  • Compare and contrast two photographs. What techniques are used in each? How do these create different effects? Which photograph do you think is more successful? Why?
  • Which photograph would you choose as the winner? What details make this work stand out compared to the rest? How does it make you feel? What techniques did the photographer use to create these effects?


Stage 5 Photographic and Digital Media

  • Which photograph would you choose as the winner? What details make this work stand out compared to the rest of the photographs? How does the photograph make you feel? What techniques did the photographer use to create these effects?
  • Using the photographs of Wildlife Photographer of the Year as a source of inspiration, take photographs of the animals on display throughout the museum during the rest of your excursion. Choose your favourite photograph and make three variations of it using computer software to alter the mood or message it creates.
Stages 4-5 Science
  • List 5 of the species at risk of extinction found in this exhibition. Choose one species to focus on. Take notes based on your observations of the photograph and the information provided in the label. After your visit to the museum, research your subject further and use your observations to write a report on why this species is at risk and what would happen if it becomes extinct. How could its absence alter its environment?
  • Choose two of your favourite photographs. How are the animals different? List up to 10 differences between these two animals. What are their similarities?

Post-visit activities

Here are some suggestions for activities that students could do after their excursion to the Museum.

Wildlife photography in your backyard

Take your camera into the wilderness of your backyard (or nearby park, zoo, etc.) and photograph what you see. Using the photographs in the exhibition as a source of inspiration, experiment with different techniques to create a dynamic image.

Wildlife collage/photomontage

Create your own wildlife scene using Photoshop or other computer software to manipulate images of animals and environments.

Exhibition critique

Use your observations and notes on the excursion to participate in a group critique with your fellow classmates.

Exhibition review

Use your observations and notes on the exhibition to critically analyse it in an exhibition review for a local newspaper. Consider the display, selection of photographs, themes and design of the exhibition while writing your review.

Museum wildlife photography exhibition

Submit your favourite photograph taken during the excursion to your teacher for an exhibition at school. Provide a title and brief caption for your photograph. As a class, discuss how you think the photos should be displayed, determine any themes that exist, and create an exhibition title. Divide students into small groups to form committees for exhibition design, marketing, etc.

A day in the life of a wildlife photographer

Write a short story about what you think a typical day for a wildlife photographer could be. What adventures would you go on in order to get the perfect photograph? 


Laura McBride , Creative Producer
Last Updated:

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