Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice | Showcasing Your Understanding

This is the final lesson in the Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice series. Preceding lessons explored a variety of social justice issues through the lens of photographers and their pictures. This activity will offer students several different options for showcasing their understanding.
Grade Level


Activities will help students:

  • review what they have learned and share their new knowledge of photography and social justice issues
  • demonstrate their understanding of important social justice topics
  • engage in meaningful reflection about the photographs they have examined in Activities 1 through 11
Essential Questions
  • How do photographs convey meaning? How do viewers contribute to constructing that meaning?
  • How are photographs similar to and different from other kinds of communication?
  • What role can photographs play in revealing injustice? What role can they play in encouraging people to take action against injustice?


Choose one or more of the following projects to complete to showcase your understanding.



View and read Afghanistan Through Teenagers’ Eyes. Write short answers to the following questions to analyze how these photographs reflect a unique perspective on Afghanistan.

  • How are these photos different from a professional photographer’s work? How are they similar?
  • Which photos stand out the most for you? Why?
  • How can photographs help to capture a person’s point of view?

Then, keeping your answers in mind, do a class project similar to Afghanistan Through Teenagers’ Eyes. Take pictures of social justice issues in your community and have each student contribute one photo to the class collection. Use what you have learned about photography and social justice to write a caption for your photo.



Pick one social justice issue and create a collage. Follow these steps:

  • Choose one social justice issue that is important to you. If you need help brainstorming, consider the titles of the 11 previous photo activities.
  • Think about all the different angles of your social justice issue. Create a graphic organizer like a concept web to help you plan your collage.
  • Cut out and collect photos from magazines and newspapers that show various angles of the issue you chose.
  • Paste the photos on a large sheet of paper—or make your collage on a computer—in an artistic way to display your point of view on this social justice issue.



Look for creative opportunities to capture social justice issues in your everyday life and then take your own photographs. Put all of your photographs together in your portfolio and consider writing captions for each.



Create a journal where you write about one new photo you see each day. Use the following tips to help you:

  • Read your local newspaper every day and check out the photo.
  • Go online to several different news sources to see photos from other areas of the country. Pay attention to advertising in billboards or on TV. Look out for photographs or images that seem interesting to you.
  • Take 15 minutes each day to write about at least one photo. Include how it made you feel and what it was in the photo that led you to have those feelings.



Collect several photos about a social justice issue and share them through a multimedia presentation, such as a slide show or short documentary. Deliver a speech about the issue to go along with your multimedia presentation.



Create a blog to express your views on a particular social justice issue.

  • Go to www.wordpress.com or www.blogger.com to get started with your own free blog.
  • Write an entry to introduce your blog. Then choose a few social justice issues you’d like to focus on.
  • Post links to photos to accompany your blog entries.
  • Invite your friends and family to read your blog. A blog allows readers to comment on what they’ve read, which can allow a dialogue to take place about the topic.



Share some photos on a social media site to draw attention to a particular issue. Have your friends get involved by providing links to resources or online petitions about that issue.



Think back to all the photos you examined during each activity in this series. Ask yourself the following questions: Choose your own format for sharing what you have learned about photography and social justice. You may combine some of the project ideas above or come up with something entirely new. Draft a proposal for your project and submit it for approval. Your project must display what you have learned about photography and social justice in the activities in this series.

  • What did I learn about photography during these activities?
  • Which photographs in particular stood out for me? Why?
Abolitionists William Still, Sojourner Truth, William Loyd Garrison, unidentified male and female slaves, and Black Union soldiers in front of American flag

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