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 writing.
  • 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 Rabbit - Duck picture and write down their findings.

Activity 2: A story will be created by the students based upon the Rabbit - Duck 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 Rabbit - Duck picture by showing them the student worksheet. (student worksheet)

Ambiguous picture: rabbit or duck?
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?
  • What do you know about the picture(s) you see?
  • (if necessary) Do you see anything else?  What do you see?
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 make notes (either in written form 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, asking questions such as: 

  • 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? 
3. Show the students the following two pictures, using 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 the same? 
  • How are the two images different?
  • What if you could:
    • zoom in (make an image appear closer)
    • zoom out (make an image appear farther away)
    • rotate (spin) the images 
  • Do you think there would be more things the same on the 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, asking questions such as: 

  • 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 have 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 his or her story and talk about how his/her 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 a story the teacher will state what he or she "saw" focusing on possibilities not mentioned by the students. 

If the students "saw" all the possibilities the teacher should lead a discussion on the 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: