Wildlife Photographer of the Year Stages 1-3 Teachers Notes

Information for teachers of Stages 1-3 preparing students for a self-guided exploration.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 #1

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011 #1
Photographer:  © Andy Rouse/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011

Before your visit

  • Make sure that students have the necessary materials to complete the activities you choose. Pencils, paper and cameras (digital or disposable with flash) are required for some of the suggested excursion activities.
  • If selected, the appropriate student activity sheets need to be photocopied for each student.
  • Check out these tips for wildlife photography

At the Australian Museum

Suggestions of activities for students to engage in at the Museum are given below. The activities are listed under their major syllabus areas and are ordered in increasing difficulty.

  • Australian Wildlife Hunt
    Which photos have animals that you can find in Australia? Make a list of the animals' names or of the titles of the photographs.
  • Imagine and Draw
    If you were a wildlife photographer, what animal would you want to take a picture of? Where would the animal live? What might it need to survive? Draw a picture of what you think your photo of the animal might look like.
    An Activity Sheet, Imagine and draw, is provided in the Student Activities pack for this activity. 
  • Compare and Contrast
    Choose two of your favourite photos. How are these animals the same? How are they different? Think about where they live, what they eat, and what they do.
    An Activity Sheet, Compare and contrast, is provided in the Student Activities pack for this activity.
  • Survival needs
    Choose one photograph of an animal. List five things it needs in order to survive.
  • Habitats
    There are many different habitats found in the photographs of this exhibition. Choose two habitats and make lists of the animals that live in them. Are there some features that are shared by animals in the same habitat? What are the differences between the habitats?
  • Important links
    Study a photograph of your choice. How does this animal interact with the other living things in its habitat? How do you think the habitat and other living things might change if this animal disappeared?
  • Caption writer
    Choose two photographs, record their titles and write captions for them.
  • Winners?
    Describe what is happening in the pictures that were the overall winners. Do you think that these are the best? Why or why not?
  • Animal ID
    Choose any photograph featuring an animal. Write everything you can learn about this animal from its photograph. What additional information do you know that you wouldn’t find out from looking at this photo?
  • A day in the life
    Imagine that you are the animal in one of the photographs on display. Write what you think a day in the life of this animal could be like. What would you do? What would you see? What other animals would you come across during your adventures?
    An Activity Sheet, A day in the life of a ..., is provided in the Student Activities pack for this activity.
  • A picture paints a thousand words
    Describe your favourite photograph. Include every detail so that someone who wasn’t looking at it would be able to visualise what the actual photograph looked like. Create a detailed list of your observations and test the memory of a friend by revealing details as they guess which picture you are describing.
  • Being playful
    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.
    An Activity Sheet, Animal play, is provided in the Student Activities pack for this activity.
Creative Arts
  • Is my favourite your favourite?
    Which is your favourite photograph? Why? Draw a picture of your favourite photo.
  • Imagine and create
    If you were a wildlife photographer, what would your subject be? What setting (environment or surroundings) would the animal or animals be in? Would your photograph be an action-shot or would it show wildlife at rest? Draw a picture of what you think your created photo might look like.
    An Activity Sheet, Imagine and create, is provided in the Student Activities pack for this activity.
  • What next?
    Draw a picture of what you think could happen next if the photographer took another picture a few minutes later.
  • Comic strip
    Choose a photograph from the exhibition. Create a comic strip and draw what you think could have happened before the photo was taken, what’s going on in the original photograph, and what might happen just after the photograph was taken.
    An Activity Sheet, Comic strip, is provided in the Student Activities pack for this activity.
  • The best
    What stands out about the overall winners? Why do you think the judges thought that their photos were the best?
  • Inspire me
    Choose any photograph and record its title. What feelings and thoughts do you think the photographer was trying to inspire with this image? Why?
  • My winner
    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?
  • Exhibition designer
    Write down your observations about the exhibition. Think about things like the content, displays, lighting, wall colours, design and organisation. Use your list of observations and share your thoughts and opinions with classmates in a critique back at school.
  • Become a Wildlife Photographer of the Day
    Ask students to ‘become a wildlife photographer’ and take their own photos of animals on display in the Museum’s other exhibitions including: Birds and Insects, Surviving Australia and Dinosaurs.
    Students can use the photos in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition as inspiration in order to create their own interesting wildlife photos. Their photos could be of a whole animal or a close-up of just part of it.
    Ask them to take notes about the animals they photograph using information in the displays.
    Later at school, they can print their favourite photo and write a paragraph describing the subject, just like the photographers in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. 

Post-visit activities

Suggested activities for students to do after their excursion to the Museum.

Wildlife in your backyard

What wildlife can you find in your backyard? Draw a picture or take a photo of what you find.

Wildlife photography in your backyard

Take your camera into the wilderness of your backyard or nearby park and take photos of what you see. Choose your favourite photo and write a caption for it. Share your wildlife photo with the class and discuss what you like about it and how you took it.

Wildlife collage/photomontage

Create a wildlife environment using old magazines, paper, scissors and glue. Would the animals in your picture interact with each other? How? Is the habitat you created a realistic one? Why or why not?
Older students could do the same activity using computer software.

Exhibition critique

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

Newspaper review

Write a brief exhibition review for a newspaper. What did you like best? What did you like least? Why?

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 the photos should be displayed, determine any themes that exist, and create an exhibition title.

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
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