Dawn Guest-Johnson
3 years ago
Last Updated
5 days ago
In this project, students learn about documentary filmmaking while independently producing a documentary film. Each student will create a 3 to 6-minute informational documentary that offers a perspective on real world events while possibly prompting a call to action.

Students begin by identifying a subject and creating a thesis. Students then conduct academic research, collect data, create a preproduction plan including documentary script, storyboard, and shot list. Lastly, students produce their project using professional camera techniques and a small camera crew.

The final product is a documentary that presents an argument, with minimal persuasion. This PBL is best done in the second semester of a Film/Video Production course or the 2nd year of a Film/Video Production program.

Lessons 1-3 do not require much technical work however, lesson 4 does require video production technical skills. If completing this lesson with students who have no video production background, scaffold as needed using the suggested or other resources.

This lesson integrates ELA Common Core Standards and CTE AME Standards.

Lesson #1- The What and Why of Documentary
Lesson #2- Taking a Stand
Lesson #3- Research, Research, and More Research
Lesson #4- Documentary Production Cycle

This unit is brought to you by Dawn Guest-Johnson with support from the CTE Online Curriculum Leadership Team and detailed coordination provided by Team Lead Gayle Nicholls-Ali.


Industries / Pathways
  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment Arts, Media, and Entertainment
K-12 Subjects
  • English-Language Arts
  • History/Social Science
  • Visual Arts & Performing Arts
  • Technology Education
Grade Levels
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12

The What and Why of Documentary

Taking a Stand - Choosing a Documentary Subject

Research, Research, and More Research - Planning the Documentary

Documentary Production Cycle - Completing the Documentary