A Picture Paints a Thousand Words
People are more likely to remember your content in the form of stories and examples, and they are also more likely to remember your content if your visuals are unique, powerful and of the highest quality.
-The power of the Visual: Learning from Down Under promotion videos
Agreed! A picture paints a thousand words, especially if it is tied to a meaningful or powerful experience. In our current unit, we are studying the Netherlands, and how it changed over time. One of our major focuses is the battle with water that the Dutch have been fighting for centuries, and how technology has impacted it. We tell the students that the Netherlands is below sea level and that without the water management infrastructure 1/3 of the country would be underwater. It’s a powerful fact, but can be difficult to visualize and really understand. So I went digging for some images that would help make these facts really mean something in the minds of my 4th Graders.
Fact: 1/3 of the Netherlands is below sea level!Fact: The intricate water management system allows cities like Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam exist. The image below I feel is even more powerful than the two above. The side-by-side comparison of what the Netherlands would look like with and without reclaimed land. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this one on Creative Commons, but hopefully, it’s sited correctly:
The result of using these visual images with my students was powerful. Many of my students are developing their English language skills, and building their academic language. Saying 1/3 of the Netherlands would be under water, and showing them a map which shows exactly what would be underwater (including our homes and school) gave the information meaning that is clear and relevant to their personal lives. Many of the students went on to design their research project around the water management system in the Netherlands and demonstrated an understanding of a challenging topic. Some went on to include water management and the threat rising sea levels could have on the Netherlands in the future. One of my students included this idea in their Genius Hour project and are hoping to answer the big question: How will water management need to improve as sea levels rise?
Visual imagery is a powerful tool that teachers can use to help students
- draw their own conclusions
- solidify understanding
The list goes on and on!