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Learning card

Tell it! Creating a documentary


This activity is based on the creation of a short documentary of about five minutes focused on a theme related to culture, art, current affairs or history. The objective of the activity is that the adolescents go deeper into a subject through audiovisual narration.

  • Documentary
  • Video


  • To create and modify audiovisual productions
  • To use filming and editing tools


  • To search, select, and download
  • To manage content storage and organizers


  • To self-manage


  • To collaborate
  • To coordinate and lead


  • To take action and to apply


  • To take action and to apply
Learning areas
  • Arts
  • Religion and Ethics
  • Social Sciences
Card language
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Italian


Six sessions minimum (Variable)
55’ (Variable)
Number of participants
10-30 participants
  • 14-16
  • 17-18
  • Phone or video camera
  • Computer with editing software
  • Internet


Key questions
  • How should I present the facts in a documentary?
  • What sources should I consult? What sources should I present in the documentary?
  • How important are the characters in the story?
  • What emotions should a good documentary produce in the viewer?

The activity is presented to the students. They will make a short documentary on a theme proposed by the teacher. To do this, the teacher will present an example of fragments of a documentary about the subject to the students.
The students are organized in groups of 2-3 students to carry out the activity.
In this session, they look for information about the topic and discuss the structure and development of the documentary as a group.
The main objective is for students to document themselves on the topic they are going to work on in the documentary.

If necessary, students can spend time at home to complement the research and documentation process. (55’)

This session is dedicated to the construction of the narrative structure of the documentary. For this, the teacher explains the three basic acts that make up a narrative: approach, node and outcome, and the narrative climax.
It is a basic structure that will be used to prepare the first draft of the script for the documentary and the storyboard.
The students dedicate the session to generating the script for their documentary. The teacher gives them support when necessary.  (55’)

In this session the students present their scripts and ideas to the rest of the class in order to obtain feedback on the work done so far and introduce improvements. The accent will be put on key aspects such as:

  • Previous research
  • Presentation of the theme
  • Follow up structure (presentation, node and outcome)
  • Varied selection of sources
  • Communication strategy
  • Product hearing

The teacher is the guide who promotes the debate around these issues.  (55’).

The students record the documentary in their free time (Work to be done outside the education centre).

Each group of students watches the recording and selects the fragments. This is used to generate a second version of the script from the materials (55’).

Students dedicate the session to the process of editing the documentary (55’).
The students will probably not be able to finish the whole assembly within class time. In this case, as homework they need to complete the assembly.

Exhibition session and viewing of the documentaries produced. Students explain the limitations and potentialities of the productions and discuss strengths and possible improvements. The professor takes advantage of this session to re-cover the contents and debates on the first activity on fiction and reality (55’).


The teacher should evaluate:

  • The ability to understand the development and sequence of the activity;
  • Planning and organization of the work team;
  • The ability to solve problems;
  • Research capacity;
  • The ability to identify the most outstanding events and, above all, their actors and context;
  • The wealth of sources used to contextualize the topic and expand the information;
  • Production process (development of ideas, structure, etc.);
  • The ability to transmit specific content;
  • The capacity for synthesis and expression;
  • The ability to self-criticize;

In the first place, the students, through the presentations, should give feedback to their classmates.
We suggest using a rubric to evaluate the activity.

References for professors

Arnau Gifreu-Castells. Universitat de Girona (Spain),
Elisenda Ardèvol. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain),
Maria-Jose Masanet. Universitat Pompeu Fabra-Barcelona (Spain),

  • Documentary
  • Video