Analyzing a Picture


Photos and drawings are important in preserving history.  Historians spend much time looking at photographs in great detail, looking for clues to the true story of the picture.

Note: Gather several  photos. Have descriptions of the photos.  Students really enjoy this simple activity.


  1. The students will be able to infer at least three conclusions from the picture.
  2. The students will be able to write their own story based on observations about the picture.


  1. Copy a picture for each student or distribute one picture to a group of students.
  2. Have students study the picture. Have them think about the following questions: When do you think the photo was taken? Where do you think the photo was taken? Who do you think the people are and what do they do?
  3. After asking probing questions, have the students write or tell their own stories about the photo. Ask them to use their imagination to embellish their stories.
  4. Have students share their stories with the class. Did everyone draw the same conclusions?
  5. Share the actual facts about the photo.


  1. Were the students able to infer at least three conclusions from the picture?
  2. Did their story fit the photo?


  1. Have students draw a scene and trade drawings with another student. Have each students write about the other's drawing.
  2. Ask students to write about what they would be doing in a photo that they would want to preserve in history.
  3. Have students think about how historians might be "fooled" by a picture, and how theories about a picture could be verified.

More about History
Back to Top
Back to Top