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Social Sciences Online. Ministry of Education

Picture interpretation


Think up a title for each photograph or an appropriate sentence.

Speech bubbles (use cut-out bubbles)

Students put themselves into 'the shoes' of people in the picture. Imagine what they are saying to each other. Use clues from the picture to help you imagine their conversation.

Thought bubbles (use cut-out bubbles)

Write thought balloons for people in the picture.
Think about what would they feel, smell, see, hear, and so on.

Comparing pictures

Show two different pictures (the same site separated by years works very well).
Find 10 differences.
Find 10 similarities.
Discuss the similarities and differences.
Give reasons.

Look at the picture

  • What happened next?
  • What happened just before?
  • Why do you think that?

Find something unusual in the picture

  • What do you think it was used for? Why?
  • What name would you give this object? Why?

Choose a person in the picture

  • Describe what the person is doing.
  • Give them a name. Imagine what their life would be like. Tell others in your group all about the character – for example, their age, marital status, living conditions, family life, and education.

Describe what the character can ...

... see
... hear
... smell

in the picture.

Five Ws and one H

Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

The teacher can ask questions based on the five Ws and one H. Alternatively, ask the students to write questions for another group to answer.

Gathering information

Answer questions based on pictures.

  • What is happening?
  • Where is it happening?
  • When is it happening?
  • Who is involved?
  • What seems important to these people?
  • How would you feel if you were suddenly placed in the picture?

Barrier activities

A cardboard barrier is placed between two pupils.

One person can see the picture. This person describes the picture to his or her partner, who then draws the picture according to the description. Compare the pictures.


Students write true or false questions about the picture.

Each student's partner identifies the statements as either true or false.

T-bar chart

Draw a T-bar chart to show similarities and differences.


Play 'I spy' or 'Who am I?' games.

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