Every Picture Tells a StoryA vase? Or a couple kissing?
Overview
These activities are designed to create a sense of disequilibrium in the visual perception of students to make them aware of different ways to to view a picture.  The students will view the images, decide what they see in each, record their ideas, and write a story based upon these findings. 

Learner Outcomes
The learners will: 

  • observe different pictures and describe what they see both verbally and in written form.
  • create stories based upon these observations.
National Science Education Standards 

National Mathematics Education Standards

Materials and Technology

Scientific Background

Teacher Lesson Plans
Activity 1: Students will view the Old Man picture and write down their findings. 

Activity 2: A story will be created by the students based upon the Old Man picture and their findings. 

Activity 3: Two more images are viewed, studied, and discussed. 

Activity 4: Stories are created based upon the two images. 

Activity 5: A wrap-up discussion exercise.

Teacher Lesson Plans
1. Begin by showing the students the Old Man picture located on the following student worksheet. (student worksheet)

Old Man?

Without telling them what they should see, conduct a class discussion.  Questions you might ask are: 

  • What do you see? 
  • Where do you see it?
  • Why do you think the image looks this way (i.e. leaves in hair, etc.)?
  • (if necessary) Do you see anything else?  What do you see?  Where?
Use this table on chart paper, the board or an overhead projector to model the use of this organizer for further student investigation. 
 Observation Knowledge Deduction
Note what you see. What do you know about this picture from looking at it carefully ? After looking at this picture carefully and thinking about what you know what do you think this picture means ? 
. . .
2. Divide the class into teams. Their job is to observe the picture, decide what it is, then tell its "story".  Each team should make notes (either in writing or by drawing their own pictures) on the table provided.  Each team will share its story with the class when it is completed.

During this time, the teacher should go to each group and ask questions about the formation of the group's deductions in developing the story.  Some of the questions the teacher should find the answers to are:

  • What were their observations? 
  • What did they already know that influenced their observations? 
  • Did they use resources (books, the dictionary, the Internet, etc.)  to justify their deduction of what the picture is? 
  • Was the deduction something that all of the members of the group could understand and "live" with? 
3. Show the students the following two pictures, found on the following student worksheet.  (student worksheet)
 
Mars landscape #1 Mars landscape #2
The students can be asked questions such as:
  • What do you see in each image? 
  • Where do you see it?
  • How are the  two images similar? 
  • How are the two images different?
  • What if you could 
    • zoom in
    • zoom out
    • rotate the images 
  • Do you think you would find more similarities between the two images?  Where?
4.  Divide the class into teams.  Their job is to observe the pictures, decide what they are, then tell their "stories".   Each team should observe, make deductions and take notes on the table provided.  Each team will share its story with the class when it is completed.

During this time, the teacher should go to each group and ask questions about the formation of the group's deductions in developing the story.  Some of the questions the teacher should find the answers to are:

  • What were the observations? 
  • What did they already know that influenced their observations? 
  • Did they use resources (books, the dictionary, the Internet, etc.)  to justify their deduction of what the picture is? 

  • Was the deduction something that all of the members of the group could understand and "live" with? 
The teacher may want all students to include some aspects of the picture that has not been presented.  If students do not include these elements, it will be the teacher's responsibility to ask questions and to encourage students to locate more resources to justify "why" this would not be an appropriate deduction. 

The story will  be presented as the summative assessment and the individual should be able to justify their story and talk about how their perspective changed as a result of formulating the deduction that led to the story. 

5. The beginning focus on observation, knowledge and deduction needs to be repeated at the end of the lesson. 

After each student has shared their story the teacher will state what she "saw", focusing on possibilities not mentioned by the students. 

If the students "saw" all the possibilities, the teacher should lead a discussion of how many different stories were shared.  Questions might include:

  • How do we KNOW what to look for? 
  • Is there any ONE " right answer" ?
  • What shapes what we look for when looking at a picture?
Key to the Pictures: