Activity 7A: Analyzing Historical Photographs

Using a series of questions students will be guided through an analysis of historical photographs.

Standard: Strand 1: American History

Grades 6-8

Concept 1: Research Skills for History

PO 4. Formulate questions that can be answered by historical study and research

PO 5. Describe the differences between a primary and secondary source documents

PO 6. Determine the credibility and bias of primary and secondary sources

Grade 7

Concept 7. Emergence of the Modern United States

PO 5 c. Analyze the impact of industrialization on the United States - Unions

High School

Concept 1: Research Skills for History

PO 5. Evaluate primary and secondary sources

a. author's main points (photographer's main points)

b. purpose and perspective

c. facts vs. opinions

d. different points of view on same historical event

e. credibility and validity

Concept 7: Emergence of the Modern United States

PO 1. Analyze how the following aspects of industrialization transformed the American economy beginning in the late 19th century:

d. Labor movement (e.g., Bisbee Deportation)

Standard: Writing Standard: Strand 3: Writing Applications

High School

Concept 6: Research

PO 1. Write a research report that:

a. incorporates evidence in support of a thesis or claim
b. integrates information from two or more pieces of primary and/or secondary research information
c. makes distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas
d. integrates direct quotes
e. uses internal citations
f. includes a works cited, bibliography, or reference page (Grades 10-12)


Either the teacher or students select a specific photograph from the Bisbee Deportation site.  Students will write or discuss what they learn about the Bisbee Deportation from the photograph.

A.  Students begin by carefully examining the chosen photograph. Give each student a worksheet.

1. Tell students to take some time to examine the photograph.

2. Students write down (or discuss) what they see in the photograph, listing details such as people they see, what they are doing, what they are wearing, their surroundings, and equipment, etc.

3. Next, write down (or discuss) what students think is happening in the photograph. Support the response by clues you have seen and identified above.

4. Guess who might have taken this picture and for what purpose.

5. Consider how this image serves as a visual document (record) of that time and place.

7. What does the photograph tell you about this particular time and place in Bisbee?

8. What details in the photograph support your ideas? What do they notice about the photo?

  B.  The photograph on the main page of the Bisbee Deportation Website is a post card. 

1.  Discuss why there would be post cards about the Bisbee deportation? 

2.  Who would create these post cards? Who would buy them and why buy them?

3. Have students write a message to go with one of the postcard.


     Analyzing historical photographs

Sources to Consult

A. Deportation Images

B. Post Card from opening page