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Lesson Plans

Christina Geabhart
Journalism and English teacher
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Lesson Plans

The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds

Christina Geabhart of Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Mo.

Christina Geabhart
Oak Park High School
Kansas City, Mo.

Title: Rule of Thirds

Overview and Rationale – Good photography is often laid out on the rule of thirds. Many great photographers place the subject not in the center but rather in one of the outer regions of a nine-square grid.

Goals for Understanding

  • Students will understand the concept guiding the rule of thirds.
  • Students will practice applying the rule of thirds to photographs.
  • Students will produce photographs using the rule of thirds.

Resources/ Materials

  • Acetate nine-square grids – varying sizes.
  • Newspaper and magazines for example photographs.
  • Cameras and proper accessories

Overviews and Timeline

Activity 1 (90 minute class)

  • Large group discussion on what makes a dynamic photograph.
  • Students Select pictures from newspapers and magazines that they find visually appealing.
  • Students use nine-square grids on acetate to lay over the pictures the Selected from the newspapers and magazines. Check to see if the picture meets the rule of thirds.
  • Large group discussion of the rule of thirds.
  • Conduct Web research on rule of thirds using referenced Web sites, or others.
  • Students can pair up, or join small groups, to discuss their images, why they chose a particular image and how it does/does not meet the rule of thirds.
  • Each pair or group should Select the top three photos that meet the rule of thirds and explain their reasoning to the class.

Activity 2 (2 or 3 – 90 minute classes)

  • Large group discussion to review rule of thirds.
  • Students will be assigned to take a roll of film, or 25 digital pictures. Each student must print at least three images they believe meet the rule of thirds.
  • Students will present their images and explain their reasoning to the class.


  • Rubric – grade the student-produced photograph in relation to meeting the rule of thirds.

References Recommended

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