Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Present It With Pictures

James Morris, Teresa Lansford | Published: August 11th, 2022 by K20 Center


Though the traditional five-paragraph essay is a great foundational tool, writing beyond the traditional high school environment can take many forms. One form is known as an infographic, combining visuals with researched information. In this club activity, students gain an introduction to the infographic style in order to begin practicing how to write outside of the traditional five-paragraph essay.

Essential Question

Aside from the five-paragraph essay, how else might we effectively communicate ideas in a way that is visually engaging and persuasive?

Learning Goals

  • Define the key components of a research-based infographic.

  • Identify the steps necessary to convey ideas in an infographic.

  • Create an infographic that combines visual elements with researched information.

Materials List

  • Activity Slides (attached)

  • Why Clubs? handout (attached; 1 per student)

  • Clubs Infographic (attached; 1 per student)

  • Example Infographic (attached; 1 per student)

  • Non-Example Infographic (attached: 1 per student)

  • 3-2-1 Infographic Feedback (attached; 2-3 per student)


10 Minute(s)

Using the attached Activity Slides, display slides 2–4 to introduce the activity. Slide 3 includes the essential question, and slide 4 has the three learning objectives for students to meet by the end of the activity.

Ask students: How do we convey information quickly? Share with students that one option we use in our day-to-day lives is to communicate information visually in a wide variety of forms. Show the signs on slide 5. Ask students what each means and how they know.

Show slides 6–7. For each sign, ask students to identify what these signs are trying to convey. Ask them to think about how useful these signs are as they were driving past them. What problems are there with these messages?


15 Minute(s)

Building upon the idea of visual communication, share with the students that sometimes we need to convey more complex information in ways that are still clear. To explore this idea, use the Annotating Text strategy as a way to introduce students to the value of infographics. A key element of this strategy is that we need to set a purpose as we annotate. For this exercise, the purpose can be to emphasize the key points of each document.

  • First, give students the attached Why Clubs? handout.

    • Ask what they think this article will be about.

    • Have them read the article and mark the key elements of the topic.

    • Remind them to include annotations explaining why the information is important.

  • Repeat this task with the attached Clubs Infographic.

    • Students may notice from the title that this information could be similar to what they just read.

    • Have them now look through the infographic to mark and annotate the key points (not necessarily the same words).

    • Students need to include their annotations explaining why the information is important.

  • After students have had time to look at both documents, ask them what stands out in terms of similarities and differences.

    • Ask where in each document they find the key information.


20 Minute(s)

As a genre, infographics can be extremely varied. Display slide 9. To give students an idea of best practices in creating an infographic, pass out one handout per group of the attached Example Infographic and Non-Example Infographic for students to review in groups.

This is an opportunity to emphasize the purpose that infographics are trying to achieve, rather than only looking at the form itself. To help students think about effectively communicating with infographics, consider asking these types of questions:

  • What stands out in each of these handouts?

    • What makes an infographic effective or ineffective?

    • How can we separate the idea of effectiveness from the idea of looking good?

  • Are these infographics clearly conveying a message?

    • Did we all get the same message?


15 Minute(s)

Split students into groups of 3–4, so they can work together to develop infographics intended to explain ideas to a general audience. Depending upon the focus of the club, it works best for students to develop an infographic that breaks down discipline-specific information into digestible chunks for a general public (i.e. how solar panels work, what crop rotation is, etc.). Student groups will each need to focus on a different topic, aimed at informing someone who isn’t familiar with the topic. These infographics need to be predominantly informative but should also engage a prospective viewer.

Each infographic is meant to:

  • Provide information to a general audience of adults and/or high school teens.

  • Convey a main idea clearly to the reader.

  • Provide three supporting points for the main idea.

  • Apply principles of visual aesthetics to engage a potential reader.

Groups will work together to identify the content of the infographic first before working to create the actual infographic. Once groups have the content, instruct them to use any digital infographic tool you prefer. Piktochart and Canva are common options but slide presentation and document software could be used as well.


15 Minute(s)

Have groups trade infographics for peer review.

With a focus on making sure if the main point from each infographic is clear to others, the peer review will focus on the effectiveness of each infographic by how well it achieves the key principles from earlier in the activity. Students need to consider whether the infographic:

  • Provides information to a general audience of adults and/or high school teens.

  • Conveys a main idea clearly to the reader.

  • Provides three supporting points for the main idea.

  • Applies principles of visual aesthetics to engage a potential reader.

Students will need to consider these questions when they consider whether or not an infographic is effective.

Provide students with 2–3 copies of the attached 3-2-1 Infographic Feedback handout. This peer feedback sheet uses the 3-2-1 strategy to guide students in their groups as they examine the content of each infographic from the perspective of a general audience (without specific information on that topic) to share back to the group that created it. Though the students will work through the peer review in groups, each individual will fill out their own handout.

Research Rationale

Regardless of the focus of the extracurricular activity, club participation can lead to higher grades (Durlak et al., 2010; Fredricks & Eccles, 2006; Kronholz, 2012). Additional benefits are possible when these clubs explore specific curricular frameworks. Club participation allows students to acquire and practice skills beyond a purely academic focus. It also affords them opportunities to develop skills such as self-regulation, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking (Allen et al., 2019). When structured with a strong curricular focus, high school clubs can enable participants to build the critical social skills, and "21st-century skills" that better position them for success in college and the workforce (Allen et al., 2019; Durlak et al., 2010; Hurd & Deutsch, 2017). Supportive relationships between teachers and students can be instrumental in developing a student’s sense of belonging (Pendergast et al., 2018; Wallace et al., 2012). These support systems help enable high-need, high-opportunity youth to establish social capital through emotional support, connection to valuable information resources, and mentorship in this club context (Solberg et al., 2021). Through a carefully designed curriculum that can be implemented within the traditional club structure, students stand to benefit significantly as they develop critical soft skills.


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  • Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., & Pachan, M. (2010). A meta-analysis of after-school programs that seek to promote personal and social skills in children and adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 45(3-4), 294–309.

  • Fredricks, J. A., & Eccles, J. S. (2006). Is extracurricular participation associated with beneficial outcomes? Concurrent and longitudinal relations. Developmental Psychology, 42(4), 698–713.

  • Hurd, N., & Deutsch, N. (2017). SEL-focused after-school programs. The Future of Children, 27(1), 95–115.

  • K20 Center. (n.d.). 3-2-1. Strategies.

  • K20 Center. (n.d.). Annotating Text. Strategies.

  • K20 Center. (n.d.). Canva. Tech Tools.

  • K20 Center. (n.d.) Piktochart. Tech Tools.

  • Kronholz, J. (2012). Academic value of non-academics: The case for keeping extracurriculars. Education Digest, 77(8), 4-10.

  • Pendergast, D., Allen, J., McGregor, G., & Ronksley-Pavia, M. (2018). Engaging marginalized, "at-risk" middle-level students: A focus on the importance of a sense of belonging at school. Education Sciences, 8(3), 138.

  • Solberg, V. S., Park, C. M., & Marsay, G. (2021). Designing quality programs that promote hope, purpose, and future readiness among high need, high risk youth: Recommendations for shifting perspective and practice. Journal of Career Assessment, 29(2), 183–204.

  • Wallace, T. L., Ye, F., McHugh, R., & Chhuon, V. (2012). The Development of an Adolescent Perception of Being Known Measure. The High School Journal, 95(4), 19–36.