Shades of green

What do we think of when we see the colour green? How many different kinds of green are there? This activity uses photography to explore your outdoor space, asking learners to look for as many different shades of green as they can. By introducing basic photography principles, this activity requires children and young people to look closely, get to know their site, and think of colour as an indicator of nature and biodiversity. 

Getting to know your space

~ 1 hour


What you need
  • iPads/tablets  
  • Whiteboard or flipchart for collecting ideas and answers 
Curriculum links
  • Art & design
  • Computing


Useful guidance

Step by step

  1. Begin the activity by opening a discussion with learners: “How many types of green are there, or is green just green? What emotions/or words come to mind when we say “green”?” You could collect responses from children and young people on a whiteboard or flipchart paper for everyone to see. 
  2. Ask learners to discuss with a partner how many different types of green they can think of. What names would they give them? After 2-3 minutes of discussion, invite pairs to share their thoughts. Did any pairs come up with similar colours or names? 
  3. Learners are going to see how many different types of green they can find outside, and use photography to record them. 
  4. Hand out your iPads or tablets – depending on numbers available, these could be shared in pairs or small groups. Head outside into your site with your group. 
  5. Before exploring and taking photographs, ask learners, “What makes a good photo of something?”  

    Some prompts to help learners could be: 
    Focus – if using a tablet, tap on the screen where you'd like to focus  
    Keep your camera steady to avoid blurry photographs  
    Exposure – is the light good enough to take a good picture? Is it too bright? Is it too dark? What can you do to improve the light?  
    Distance - Are you close enough to get the details? Are you so close that you can’t focus? Are you far enough away to capture the whole thing? Are you so far away that the details are very small in the frame? 
  6. Give learners 10 minutes to take photos of as many different types of green that they can find in the outdoor area – you may wish to set boundaries in your site to a particular space. 
  7. Afterwards, have 10 minutes to revisit the images. This could take place outside or back in the classroom. Ask if any learners would like to share any of the shades of green they captured – where were they? What was the object? Was it natural, or human-made? 
  8. Ask learners to choose three favourite shades of green they photographed, and give them a new, unique name. What does this colour remind you of? How does it feel? 
  9. To wrap up, discuss with learners, “did we find more natural shades of green, or unnatural? What kinds of colours would we like to see more of? How could we do this?” This could start to build ideas for improving your learning site as you progress through the Nature Park programme. 

Thumbnail image: © RHS, Credit: RHS / Tim Sandall