Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Photo or Picture Deconstruction

K20 Center | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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Photo or Picture Deconstruction

Participants critically examine photos or pictures in detail for the purpose of gathering and inferring more information.

Photo or Picture Deconstruction


Students study an image that has been broken into four sections to foster close inspection. Students first describe the image exactly as they see it, and then they take another look, this time inferring meaning from the image. This allows students to practice distinguishing the facts from interpretation while also practicing inferring additional facts from those presented.


  1. Divide an image into four quadrants and present them to the class.

  2. For each quadrant, students describe exactly what they see (people, places, objects) without interpretation.

  3. Students infer and interpret what they see with evidence from the picture to support their inferences. For example, they may infer that a photo is from the Civil War era by the dress of the people.

  4. Students explain what they do not know about the image and how they might find the information.