Search Menu


This site is available only to JEA members. Please log in below.

File naming systems for publications


In this lesson about file types, students will complete a webquest that will allow them to explore different file types (.gif, .tif, .jpeg, and .png) and determine the differences between them.  Then, they will be able to compare that webquest with a teacher key to check their answers.


  • Students will conduct mini research projects to learn about different file types.
  • Students will make judgments about the reliability of information they find online and choose to use websites that are reliable and informative.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8 Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the usefulness of each source in answering the research question; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.


45 minutes


Class set: What’s in a file name? Webquest

What’s in a file name? key  (Several copies for students to check when finished)

Computer access

Lesson step-by-step

1. Discuss — 5 minutes

What do students already know about file types? (They may think they don’t know anything, but probably, some of them know quite a bit more than they think.  For instance, you can try asking them what a .doc or .ppt file type means.  They also probably are familiar with .pdf and several others.  Students should be able to share that the file extension tells what type of program the document is compatible with and also what type of file it is)

2. Activity — 35 minutes

Give students this time to work on the computers (by themselves or with a partner, based on computer availability) to complete the What’s in a File Name webquest.  Once students finish, they can check their work using the key that is provided.

One specific note when it comes to looking for photos in Google: under “Search Tools,” students can choose specific types of files (face, photo, animated, etc) and file sizes.  If students get stuck looking for specific parts of the webquest, they may be able to adjust these settings to find what they are looking for.

3. Debrief — 5 minutes

What questions do students have? What was challenging about finding this information online? While students were searching, how did they know whether a website they were looking at was reliable or not?

4. Homework

To help students connect today’s learning back to photojournalism, students should write a reflective paragraph as a homework assignment.  In this paragraph, they should discuss where and how they would use each type of photo file in the publication process, both digitally and in print.


Teachers can make this assignment easier for struggling students by giving them the completed webquest and allowing them to discuss the differences with a partner and working together to write the homework paragraph.  In this way, the teacher can check for understanding to make sure students understand the concepts prior to them leaving the classroom.