K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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a woman and a little girl stand holding hands by a line of laundry

(Provided by the Green 'N' Growing Collection (The History of Home Demonstration and 4-H Youth Development in North Carolina), Special Collections, North Carolina State University Libraries. More about the photograph)

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Related pages

  • Live-at-Home in North Carolina: In this lesson students will examine pictures and documents relating to the Live at Home program started in North Carolina by Governor O. Max Gardner to help North Carolina farmers refocus on food crops rather than cash crops during the Depression. These photographs, from the Green 'N' Growing collection at the North Carolina State University, will help students draw conclusions about the culture of North Carolina in the early 1930s and understand how they overcame the hardships of the Depression.
  • World War II at home: Victory Gardens: Students will learn about home front activities during World War II. Using primary source documents and photographs, students will discover how children their own age participated by growing Victory Gardens. They will design their own gardens and propaganda posters.
  • Effects of civic action: In this lesson, secondary students will analyze primary source materials to investigate how 4-H clubs made an impact on the home front in completing projects that supported the war effort during World War II. This lesson should be taught at the end of a World War II unit.

Related topics


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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • analyze how individuals, families, and groups are similar and different
  • examine primary sources
  • evaluate how the lives of individuals and families of the past are different from what they are today
  • begin to develop an understanding of change over time
  • use Venn diagrams to take notes

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

One class period of 35 minutes. The extension writing activity can take an additional 20 minutes.


  • 2 copies of each photograph listed in the Pre-activities section. Number them for easy identification when working with the students and print on photo paper, if available.
  • An overhead of the example photograph list in the Pre-activities section. Optionally use an LCD or smartboard.
  • 6 manila envelopes.
  • 2 copies of each of three pieces of clip-art (Microsoft Word).
  • Copies of Venn diagrams or double bubble maps to hand out to students. Find examples at TeAch-nology, Graphic.org, and abcteach.
  • Chalkboard or white board.
  • Chart paper for writing activity.
  • Lined paper for 1st and 2nd graders completing the extension writing activity.

Technology resources

  • overhead or smartboard
  • internet-accessible computer, if showing the sample from the Green ‘N’ Growing website
  • printer for copying visuals


Students should have some familiarity with using Venn diagrams or double bubble maps. If they have not used these graphic organizers before, the teacher may need to spend some time explaining and modeling how to use them during the lesson. See the websites listed in the Materials/Resources section for more information.

The teacher should make copies of the following photographs from the Green ‘N’ Growing collection at the Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Library.





10-year-old daughter of Mitch McGahan who is dying of undernourishment (it is not necessary or suggested that the undernourishment issue be discussed during this lesson)

The copies can be made on regular paper in at least a 4×6-inch size. However, it will make more of an impact if the students can see and use the visuals on photo paper.

Put the photographs in three large envelopes labeled on the back: Families, School, and Children. Paste the appropriate piece of clip-art for each group on the front of the corresponding envelope.

If you want to explore the Green ‘N’ Growing collection on your own to find zoomable versions or other images, the following instructions may be helpful:

  1. Go to the Green ‘N’ Growing website.
  2. Click on the Search Collection section on the bottom of the page.
  3. Search by the titles listed above or other keywords.
  4. Another large window will automatically open. Double click on a thumbnail to view and interact with the image.
  5. In the bottom right corner are tools to work with the image: zoom in and out, print, and read contextual information (see the lined icon).



  1. Ask the students to brainstorm how each of them are alike listing their ideas on the board or overhead. Then ask them to think about how they are different. List those ideas as well. Finally, ask them to do the same thinking about how they are alike and different from their grandparents.
  2. Put up the overhead (or show with the use of a computer, LCD, or smartboard) the example picture of the
    10-year-old daughter and ask the students to examine it. Ask them what they think is happening in the picture. (laundry) Ask them if their mothers or grandmothers do laundry like that. (Some may say that their mothers do hang out the wash. Others may remark that their mothers use a dryer. Some students may know that their parents go to a laundromat. And it is possible that some students may not know at all how their clothes get clean.)
  3. Then ask the students if they think the photograph was taken in the present (you may want to say “this week or last week.”) Ask them to explain why they think their answer is true. (Students may say that it is old because it is in black and white, the clothes look funny, the fence looks old, etc. They may think that it could have been taken recently because their mothers hang out laundry.)
  4. Explain to them that all their clues are important and that thinking about the picture is one of the ways that people who learn about history (or the past or times long ago) find out about that time. You could share with them that the picture was taken in North Carolina nearly 85 years ago (1923) or about the time that some of their great-grandparents or great-great-grandparents were alive.
  5. Explain that they will be looking at some more photographs from North Carolina to see how people who lived before us were alike and different.


  1. Students should be divided into two groups. The teacher will work with one, the teacher assistant will work with the other group.
  2. Hold up the manila envelope of Families for the group to see. Ask the students to describe the picture that has been pasted on the front. Lead them to the concept of “family.”
  3. Have a few students share describe their families.
  4. Take the photographs out of the envelope and pass them around allowing the students a few minutes to look at them together in pairs or small groups.
  5. The teacher or teacher assistant will share one way a family or situation is like his/her own by pointing out the similarity on the photograph and putting the information in a large Venn diagram labeled “Photograph Family” and “Our Families.” Depending on grade level, the teacher may write words or a combination of words and pictures.
  6. Ask the students to share ways that the families in the photographs are like their own families. Have them identify the similarities by pointing out items or situations in the photographs. Continue to write in the Venn diagram.
  7. The teacher or teacher assistant will share one way a family or situation is different from his/her own by pointing out the difference in the photograph and writing it into the Venn diagram.
  8. Next have students share some ways their families are different using the same process. The differences should include some historical differences. Be sure to have the students point out the differences in the photographs. The teacher or teacher assistant should point out some of those differences if the students are not readily seeing them: clothing, cars, appliances, etc. Write the differences in the Venn diagram.
  9. Give each child a copy of a Venn diagram or double bubble map.
  10. Allow the students to look at one or both of the other envelopes and repeat the procedure above as independent practice. The teacher and teacher assistant could divide their groups into two smaller groups and assign each a different envelope. Depending on grade level, the students may use words or pictures to complete their Venn diagrams of similarities and differences.
  11. Have the students gather again as a whole class. Ask the students to share some of the things they learned in the smaller groups. Ask students:
    • How are the children, families, and schools in the photographs the same as children, families, and schools today?
    • How are children, families, and schools in the photographs different from children, families, and schools today?
    • What are some ways you were able to tell the photographs were taken a long time ago?


Assessment is conducted through teacher observation of student discussion, which should demonstrate an understanding of similarities and differences as well as the concept of change over time. Students will also complete a Venn diagram and should be able to articulate at least one similarity and difference between the lives depicted in the photographs and life today. Students should recognize that the photographs are from a time different from today (many years ago).

Extension activity

This writing activity is to be completed after the students have examined and discussed the photographs.

  1. The teacher/teacher assistant should choose one of the three envelopes.
  2. Put the students back into the two groups.
  3. As a group, have students choose one of the photographs from the envelope.
  4. Tell students to imagine what is happening in the photograph.
  5. Explain that they will be writing a story about the photograph as a group.
  6. The teacher/teacher assistant will write on chart paper as the students develop a short story about the photograph.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • 1.H.1 Understand that history tells a story of how people and events changed society over time. 1.H.1.1 Explain how and why neighborhoods and communities change over time. 1.H.1.2 Explain the importance of folklore and celebrations and their impact on local...
      • Grade 2

        • 2.H.1 Understand how various sources provide information about the past. 2.H.1.1 Use timelines to show sequencing of events. 2.H.1.2 Identify contributions of historical figures (community, state, nation and world) through various genres. 2.H.1.3 Compare various...
      • Grade 3

        • 3.H.2 Use historical thinking skills to understand the context of events, people and places. 3.H.2.1 Explain change over time through historical narratives (events, people and places). 3.H.2.2 Explain how multiple perspectives are portrayed through historical...
      • Kindergarten

        • K.H.1 Understand change over time. K.H.1.1 Explain how people change over time (self and others). K.H.1.2 Explain how seasons change over time. K.H.1.3 Explain the impact of how life events bring change (a new sibling, moving to a new house, a new job, a new...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: The learner will analyze how individuals, families, and groups are similar and different.
    • Objective 1.03: Compare and contrast similarities and differences among individuals and families.
  • Goal 3: The learner will recognize and understand the concept of change in various settings.
    • Objective 3.03: Compare and contrast past and present changes within the local community and communities around the world.

Grade 2

  • Goal 3: The learner will analyze how individuals, families, and communities are alike and different.
    • Objective 3.02: Describe similarities and differences among families in different communities.


  • Goal 1: The learner will investigate how individuals, families, and groups are similar and different.
    • Objective 1.04: Recognize that families and groups have similarities and differences.
  • Goal 3: The learner will recognize and understand the concept of change in various settings.
    • Objective 3.02: Evaluate how the lives of individuals and families of the past are different from what they are today.