Miniature Worlds

Phyllis Burstein
 with students at Walter Payton College Prep, Chicago 

Challenge: Students use miniatures to create tiny worlds within the school environment.

Materials: digital cameras, miniatures, Optional: lights and tripods (See tips below)

• Students are asked to bring in miniatures and toys from home the day before.
• Students put into groups randomly or form groups based on miniatures brought in.
•  Using the architecture and school supplies as part of the set-up, students set up tiny worlds within the school environment and take photos.

Lesson Expansion:
• Put students in groups randomly and have them try to synthesize the miniatures and toys they brought in order to make sense in the set-up.
• Challenge students to make one item for their set-up.
• Give students a prompt or title for their set-up: grades, social life, tutoring, detention etc.

Point and Shoot Cameras (cameras without manual controls):
Choose the "flower" or macro/close-up setting if the student places the camera between 2' and 3' away. More light will give students more depth of field so the photo will have better chance of being in focus. Use any light source- studio lights for drawing will work well.

Macro setting or zooming-in increases the chance of soft focus. Tripods can help .
-No tripod? Make a tripod! Paper Clip Tripod.  Make a Pop Bottle Tripod  Make a bean bag tripod.