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Observation, Wider Thinking, Showing Progress

THEME: Observation, Wider Thinking, Showing Progress

ACTIVITY: More Images

This activity works really well in Geography but I can also see how it could be done in any subject in which students may be given a document (of any sort) and asked to “comment” on it. The document might be a picture, a graph, a diagram, a written article…………. anything!

I started doing this activity because the first question in each section on our Geography A Level paper is always a “comment on” question. Candidates are simply given a graph/diagram/photograph/article and are expected to make observations and then link their observations to other geographical ideas. They only have about 7/8 minutes in which to do this. At first this seems really difficult – students just try to describe what is on the document- often that is not very much! This activity helps them to a) make pertinent observations (using Key Terms) b) think more widely (synopticity). I am sure this activity could be adapted to any subject/age group and it certainly helps pupils think beyond the obvious. The team/competition aspect could obviously be adapted in any way (or omitted altogether!)

What to do:

Intro - Give the class an image/document and allow them 5/6 minutes to write down their “comments” on the image, n prose, don’t give them any ideas about how to do this - see what they come up with!

Self-assess, quickly, (led by you)- how many relevant Key Terms have they included? Don’t go through what else they COULD have included. Put this picture to one side.

  • Split the class into groups (max 6 in a team)

  • Give each group a photo (not related to the initial question) on a piece of A3 paper- they have 1min30 seconds to write as many Key Terms as they can think of linked to the image.

  • See how many each team has –go through the Key Terms (quickly) in order to verify them. Scores on the board!

  • Now give them another sheet of A3 with 5 or 6 more photos – all of which are linked to the first one but are different. Get them to use these photos to add more key terms to the first photo. 2 Minutes for this activity.

  • Scores again and discussion of the key terms. You will find that they have thought of many more ideas once given the extra images.

  • Now do a variation of this… give them a completely different image on a sheet of A3 – this time, rather than thinking of Key Terms, they must annotate it with “Ideas for other images” (I told them to think what I would be looking for if I was planning the first part of the activity again – with this picture ) Allow 1 min 30 seconds for this – scores again!

They now have grasped the idea that they NEED to use as many Key Terms as possible AND think widely round the subject when doing these types of questions. What is more they have “strategy” for thinking widely rather than just aimlessly “thinking”!

Plenary- Do the original question again – have they improved?

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