A Concept Collage Lesson Plan
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Using Pictures To Illustrate An Idea
To help students understand basic social studies concepts (e.g. nationalism, revolution, democracy, imperialism) by using pictures from magazines. This is an appropriate introductory assignment for any level in high school.
As many scissors and glue sticks as possible; lots of old magazines (e.g. MacLean's, Time, National Geographic) which can be sacrificed; large backing paper, like 11 by 17 inch; various other art supplies, including markers and colored paper.
a) Introduce your students to the basic historical concepts you wish to use. Try a mini-lecture or a dictionary search which can be shared on the board or overhead. Discuss these concepts to make sure they understand what the ideas mean.
b) Discuss the collage project. Tell the students they will be finding pictures which represent the concepts you've just discussed. Ask the students what kind of pictures could be used for, say, nationalism or revolution. This will help them get started. Emphasize that you want them to be creative and original, yet they must always ensure their pictures have some connection to the concept.
c) After you choose who does which concepts, get the students into pairs. This helps them to find more pictures if they work collaboratively. Make sure they each have a small number of magazines to scan so nobody is left without something to look at. Emphasize sharing!
d) The assignment should include:
i) a collage
ii) a title on the collage
iii) a definition of the concept; better yet, get them to also do a short paragraph which explains the concept, explains their choice of pictures, and has some example from the history they've been studying.
iv) if you want, they can present their collages and paragraphs to the class.
This project takes about 2 hours. Have 2 garbage cans ready! Some prep is needed, but it really gets the kids looking at the magazines and talking about the concepts.