Friday, August 10, 2012

Using Photographs to Teach "Continuity and Change Over Time"

A significant history concept that students need to grasp is Continuity and Change Over Time.  This involves considering how people, ideas, and places have stayed the same and changed over time.  While explaining this concept is a start, we have to remember that many students are visual.  Luckily, there are picture sets that exist which allow us to guide students toward understanding this concept.  

Picture Set: Summer Olympics Since 1896 (from DZinepress)

How might I use a picture set within a learning activity?
If students are given this set of pictures, they might initially organize them on a timeline.  This opportunity deepens their sense of chronology and how timelines are used by historians.  For younger students who are still grasping concepts of time, they might add the birthdays of major family members or when particular items were invented.  Adding these elements help students to build context for time periods.  Finally, allow students to create a simple T chart with:
1. What appears to stay the same over time?
2. What appears to change over time?
This gets students actively involved in the historical process/historical thinking and creates an entry point for every student to apply the concept of Continuity and Change Over Time to their learning of history.  Students might add details that are complex or details that may appear, initially, surface level.  The ope-ended nature of the learning activity allows students of all learning levels to engage in the thinking and participate in the discussion of what was observed.

Keep your eyes out for additional picture sets that you might use.  In a 3rd grade classroom, a teacher used pictures of the Denver Bronco quarterbacks, the uniforms, and the stadium to help students understand the concept of Continuity and Change Over Time.

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