Lesson Plan

Commercial and Non-Industrial Occupations
Post-Visit Activity 3:
Photograph Collection

J.W. Nara and his wife Mary Piehl pose for a wedding portrait in formal attire

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations.


Students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge on photographic documentation and composition by creating a booklet or storyboard.


History can be documented in numerous ways, one of which is photography. J.W. Nara, a well-known photographer, was able to accomplish this during the mining era in Calumet. He not only captured the work undertaken within mines, he also captured the life within a mining community.



Materials Needed

  • Photos taken during Calumet Visitor Center visit
  • Large white paper or unlined paper for booklet
  • Optional: Mentor or model text of photographic documentation as a book (i.e. Pure Superior by Jeff Richter)
  • Optional: Computer

Lesson Hook/Preview

Before visiting the Calumet Visitor Center, remind students to bring cameras and take photographs to document their visit.


1. Previous to visit, inform students to remember cameras and take snapshots of their visit. This may include pictures of the displays or historical buildings in the community if possible.

2. Discuss the importance of photography in historical documentation. Also discuss the impact of J.W. Nara’s work.

3. Students will review their photos and select at least 6 to use in their booklet or photo board.

4. Each photo should be significant and document an important aspect of their visit or of the history of Calumet. Students will write a short caption for each picture.

5. Students with photo boards will mount the photos and write or print captions beneath them. This should be similar to the display layouts found at the Calumet Visitor Center. Students with booklets should create a book with the photos and captions arranged in a logical order.

6. Students will display and present their final projects. Students should explain why they chose each photo and the significance of each one.


Photograph- a picture created when using a camera

Additional Resources


Maggie Walz https://www.nps.gov/kewe/learn/historyculture/maggie-walz.htm

J.W. Nara http://www.lib.mtu.edu/mtuarchives/exhibits/Nara/photos/pamphlet.pdf



Antonia Putrich and Marie Grierson

Hoagland, Alison K. Mine Towns: Buildings for Workers in Michigan’s Copper Country. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010

Additional Photograph lessons: http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer/education/lessonPlans/indices/elementary.shtml



Little Book and Accordion Book:

Lindquist, Tarry. Seeing the Whole Through Social Studies, Second Edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002

Related Lessons or Education Materials

This post-activity is one of three that can be completed for fourth grade about commercial and non-industrial occupations in the Keweenaw before a field trip visit to the Calumet Visitor Center.  There is also an assortment of related pre-visit activities that can be completed as well.

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Last updated: January 14, 2017