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The Study of the Spanish-Speaking People of Texas
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A Photo Essay by Russell Lee
Lesson 3
Images and History

Enduring Understandings:

  • Images have power and influence in people’s lives.
  • Some people use art to express their thoughts and feelings about the social condition.

Essential Questions:

  • How do historians use images to understand the past?
  • In what ways has art been used to make statements about social conditions?


11.10 (B) analyze the effects of changing demographic patterns resulting from immigration to the United States

11.2 (C) analyze social issues, such as the treatment of minorities, child labor, growth of cities, and problems of immigrants

11. 14 (D) identify actions of government and the private sector to expand economic opportunities to all citizens

11.17 (A) analyze the effects of 20th-century landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, and Reynolds v. Sims

11.21 (B) explain efforts of the Americanization movement to assimilate immigrants into American culture

11.24 (C) explain and apply different methods that historians use to interpret the past, including the use of primary and secondary sources, points of view, frames of reference, and historical context

11.24 F) identify bias in written, oral, and visual material

11.24 (G) support a point of view on a social studies issue or event


  1. Images and History handout
  2. Internet Connection to: Study of Spanish-Speaking People of Texas Web site


The students will:

  1. Analyze photographs from an historical perspective.
  2. Describe the intellectual and emotional impact of selected images at this Web site.

Anticipatory Set (Attention Getter):

The teacher will:

  1. Choose one of the images from the Web site and display it for the whole class to see.
  2. Ask students to make observations about the photograph.


The teacher will:

A. Introduce the lesson by explaining:

Photographs and other types of images can be important tools in understanding historical events and time periods. In order to gain as much information as possible from an image, begin by looking at the whole picture. Notice what your emotional and physical reactions are to the picture. Then examine the image in a methodical way. Draw imaginary lines on the image that divides it into four quadrants. Look carefully at each quadrant for details that are not seen on first glance. Sometimes a magnifying glass is helpful to see details that are only apparent on close inspection.

This lesson will teach you to look at images the way a historian does to learn more about an event or time in history.


  1. The teacher will:
    A. Distribute handout: Images and History.
    B. Guide students through the questions on the handout as they apply to the image the teacher has chosen.
  2. The students will individually or in pairs:
    A. Choose a second image to analyze using the Images and History handout

(If the students have access to the Internet and can access the images themselves and choose an image that appeals to them. If the students do not have individual access to the Internet, the teacher can provide copies of the images for the students to analyze.)


The teacher will:

1. Ask individual students to summarize the important points of analyzing photographs from an historical perspective.


The students will:

1. Write a short essay on why they chose the second image for analysis and answer the 10 questions from the handout.

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