Every picture, every photo, every film or video presents an argument made by its creator. In that light, we can examine visuals made by people in the past and understand how they viewed the world around them.
I’ve put together a series of historical photos on a wide variety of topics and situations that students find intriguing. The overall objective of the activity is to transform students’ view of pictures from random records of meaningless events to one that is more insightful. Through this process, they will arrive at an understanding of the power of pictures and their limitations as well. Finally, they will create their own photos that integrate the elements studied in class and present it to the class, explaining their choice and what that choice says about them and our own time period.
Visual and argument analysis are the focus of this lesson and I provide a detailed set of instructions and optional activities to make this lesson as challenging as you want. Please provide feedback regarding what worked for you, how you adapted it, etc as this is a new lesson for me.
Common core standards are included in the student packet portion of this lesson and focus on analysis, writing, and creativity. Knowledge of basic argument form and rhetorical terminology are necessary and I would do this lesson after the AP Language class had completed that unit, or with seniors, anytime.