Truth or Photoshop? Students Tweak TIME Cover

This year too my Photoshop class that has attracted a high level of interest – and questions.

I teach this to 6th graders, and not many of them realize the importance of scrutinizing and decoding the media they come into contact with – billboards, newspapers, Facebook posts, album covers, and celebrity photos etc.

Borrowing on the interest from the NASA study using twins Scott and Mark Kelly, I asked them to consider the conspiracy theories about space. Starting with the old, ‘we faked the moon landing’ theory (now with a lot more discussion about that pre-Internet event).

And then I got them to see if a head shot of an astronaut bound for the Space Station could be Photoshopped.

We have a great candidate for this, in-house: 6th grade teacher David Krebs, who was up to it.

I took a quick mug shot of him (in yellow T-shirt) as his class was exiting the Lab. The students are asked to try to replace Scott Kelly with  David Krebs, using filters and cropping tools.

The best part is that not only are they learning about the issues — the ethics of image manipulation, bias in media, why there are lines media people should not cross when editing photos etc –while learning how to use Photoshop.They are also learning some bigger issues about space science, and what the NASA study is all about.

It nicely sets the stage for possible activities and lessons around Mars Day in the new school year

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