Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Caption This

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


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Caption This

This strategy invites students to analyze images related to a topic and then create captions to demonstrate what they have learned about the topic.

Caption This


Students are provided with one or more images related to a topic or concept they have studied. They create captions for each image to synthesize what students have learned. This strategy can also be modified to assess students' previous knowledge about a topic.


  1. Curate one or more images—for example, paintings, pictures, photographs, charts, graphs—that relate to a chosen topic or concept.

  2. Optionally, to assess students' prior knowledge, show these curated images in the Engage or Explore phase of a lesson and ask students to create captions based on observations and inferences.

  3. In the Explain or Evaluate phase of a lesson, organize students into small groups or pairs, or have them work individually. Provide students with a set of images. If you opted to include Step 2, you may also have students revise their previous previous based on what they have learned in the Engage and Explore phases.

  4. Ask students to take each image in the set and create a 1–3 sentence caption that explains what is happening in the image or what each image represents based on what they have learned.

  5. Invite students to share their captions with small groups and/or the whole class. Use these images and captions to lead the class in a discussion about what students have learned about a given topic or concept.