Images are a helpful way into most topics, but for students to really get under the skin of what the picture is showing they often need an activity paired with the resource to notice its detail and significance. Remember that images from books and magazines in the CLA repertoire can be copied under the licence. Many websites are included too – just run the URL through the Check Permissions tool. For easy copy, also use the CLA Education Platform to capture images from textbooks.  These can be sent to students via email or Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams.

Layers of Inference

  1. Copy a picture and place two squares around it so that you have three concentric areas overall.
  2. In the first area, students need to write what they can see – drawing arrows to the appropriate part of the picture.
  3. In the second area, students write what each of these observations suggests to them.
  4. In the third and final area, students write what more they want to find out or what questions they now have.

This starter activity can then bookend the end of the topic/lesson by students either correcting what they started with based on new knowledge gained or answering the questions they raised.

Spot the Difference

Obviously, you might have the photoshop skills to manipulate a picture so that students can do a genuine spot the difference. However, why not take different pictures on similar topics and ask students to notice what’s changed, why that might be and was it for the better. 

In my History lessons, I showed students 14th century surgery next to 19th century surgery. They were able to circle the medical uniforms, sterile environment and metal equipment in the latter picture as areas of progress. The higher ability students were able to identify that change came about because of people like Lister and inventions like the microscope.

Drawing Relay

  1. Copy and enlarge a picture of your choosing. Have this at the front of the class.
  2. In groups of around 4, students need to number themselves 1-4. Give them A3 paper and one pencil.
  3. All the number 1s need to come to the front and look at the picture you’re holding for 30 seconds. They return to their group and start drawing the picture for another 30 seconds. 
  4. Everyone downs tools while the number 2s come to look at the picture, and then carry on drawing. Repeat until everyone’s had a go/you’ve had enough!  Judge the winner based on the most accurate detail.

This activity is obviously active and supports collaboration, but also forces students to notice – what’s in the picture, what’s already been drawn and what they need to complete. They will hopefully end up seeing ‘more’ of the picture as a result.