A significant local site

Activity 6: Old photos, new photos, same view

Prior to the lesson the teacher needs to collect images of the school taken in the past. These may be either external shots or scenes of classrooms.

For example, a photo of Albuera Street Infant School in Tasmania is undated but belongs to a collection of images taken between the 1950s and early 1970s. While this provides difficulties in having an exact date it can be useful when interviewing students or staff from the past who may be able to relate additional information prompted by elements of the photo. This is useful in demonstrating to students the power of combining information from more than one source.

Students are shown a number of other historic photos of the school. Each image is allocated an image number and small groups of students are allocated an image or images to investigate. While walking around the school each group is given the aim of locating the position the photographer was in to take the image their group has been allocated. Once verified by other students in the class and the teacher, a photo is taken from that same position. Each student also records the position of each image on their own individual copy of a map of the school by recording the image number in the correct position. This builds on the earlier mapping activity.

After returning to the class the first old image of the school is projected on a smart board or printed copies are provided. Students are given copies of a modern photo taken from approximately the same position and use a Venn diagram to record differences and similarities between the images. Each pair of images will generally contain elements that are in the old image which are no longer present, elements that are in both images and elements that are in the modern photo not in the old photo. Once the class has completed a Venn diagram for a pair of images together, students could then work on their own Venn diagrams for other pairs of photos.

Two overlapping circles create spaces for three lists: ‘Then’, ‘Now’ and ‘Then and Now’. A Venn diagram used to record similarities and differences (change and continuity)
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As an example, compare the contemporary image of Albuera Street Infant School, shown in photo 1, with the historic photo, Albuera Street Infant School in Tasmania .

Front exterior view of the Albuera Street Infant School. Photo taken from a side view. The image shows the school gate, garden embankments and the front exterior classroom windows with student art. Photo 1: Front exterior view of the Albuera Street Infant School, Hobart, 2012
© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain all copyright notices and acknowledgements.

Photo 2 and photo 3 are good examples. In such images differences and similarities might be in the natural environment, such as the growth of trees, as well as the constructed school environment. There are also opportunities to compare technology used in a school.

The rear buildings of the Albuera Street Infant School with trees and Mount Wellington in the background. Photo 2: Compare this contemporary photo of a school exterior taken from approximately the same position as the historic image, Albuera Street Infant School, Mt. Wellington in background
© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain all copyright notices and acknowledgements.
Internal classroom shot showing plastic desks, metal charts, fluorescent lights, electric ceiling fans and a smart board. Photo 3: Compare this contemporary photo of a classroom taken from approximately the same position as the historic image, Albuera Street Infant School, children working in library
© 2013 Education Services Australia Ltd, except where indicated otherwise. You may copy, distribute and adapt this material free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided you retain all copyright notices and acknowledgements.

Students might also complete an illustrated poster or report under the headings:

  • Then and now
  • Then but not now
  • Now but not then

Through this they expand the single words and phrases in the Venn diagram into complete sentences which explain the similarities and differences to a reader unfamiliar with the topic.

An example is shown in Then and now - summary to prose  (PDF, 200 KB) , which compares the exterior photos of Albuera Street Infant School referred to above.

This activity also offers opportunities for students to add additional questions to those begun in Activity 4.

Assessment opportunities

The Venn diagrams completed by the students indicate their capacity to compare and contrast the past with the present. The poster or report demonstrates the student's ability to develop a narrative about the past for formative or summative purposes.

Resources