As of September 30, 2005, the North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium is no longer in operation.
NCRTEC  Professional Development Planning and Evaluation Teaching and Learning

Using Pictures in Lessons


One of the advantages of having computers and an Internet connection in schools is that it allows teachers and students to make use of the resources available on the Internet. Since teachers have not always had access to large numbers of pictures and other graphic resources, the NCRTEC is providing some lesson plans created by teachers that demonstrate some ways in which pictures and other graphic resources might be useful in a classroom. The intent is not to provide lessons that other teachers would use straight "out of the box", but to provide some ideas about how pictures might be effective in their own lessons.

Some of the strategies in these lesson plans are:

  • Bridge time and space
    (Pictures from the Civil War or from Mars)

  • Simplify the complex
    (Maps and charts which show only the necessary data)

  • Make the abstract concrete
    (Real-life instances of fractions or geometry)

  • Challenge preconceptions
    (Pictures of a summer day in an Icelandic city)

  • Provide context
    (The odd legs and neck of a flamingo being used to find food in shallow water)

  • Develop aesthetic appreciation
    (Photographs showing the beauty of a wetland area)

  • Practice identification
    (Sorting pictures of reptiles and mammals)
A frequent strategy for helping students extract information from pictures is:
  1. Start by having students examine the picture.

  2. Ask students to describe what they have observed.

  3. Have the class discuss differences in observations.

  4. Ask students to interpret what they have seen.

  5. Have students defend any conflicting interpretations by referring to the original picture.



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