FSA Photography: Creating a Local Archive

In this lesson students will study the work of the Farm Security Administration photographers who documented the rural South during the Great Depression. They will consider the purpose and methods of the FSA photographers, how these are reflected in the photographs, and the value of the photographs as a historical resource. They will then take on the role of FSA photographers to create an archive of photographs of their local area.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.IKI.7
Evaluate the topic or subject in multiple diverse formats and media.
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.IKI.9
Analyze and evaluate a variety of thematically-related texts of historical and literary significance for their topics, facts, purposes, and rhetorical...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; support an interpretation of a text by citing and synthesizing relevant textual evidence from...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.CC.1
Initiate and participate effectively with varied partners in a range of collaborative discussions on appropriate 11th - 12th grade topics, texts, and...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.PKI.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective so that listeners can follow the line of reasoning;...
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.PKI.5
Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.IKI.7
Evaluate the topic or subject in two diverse formats or media.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.IKI.9
Analyze a variety of thematically related texts of historical and literary significance for the way they address related topics, facts, and concepts.
TSS.ELA.9-10.RI.KID.1
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
TSS.ELA.9-10.SL.CC.1
Initiate and participate effectively with varied partners in a range of collaborative discussions on appropriate 9th- 10th grade topics, texts, and...
TSS.ELA.9-10.SL.PKI.4
Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically, so that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

The learner will:

  • Analyze a set of primary sources for insights into the lives of rural Southerners during the Depression.
  • Understand the purpose and methods used by the photographers of the FSA’s Historical Section
  • Create an archive of local photographs modeled on the FSA project as a resource for future use.
Essential and guiding questions: 
  • What do the FSA photographs reveal about rural life in the South during the Depression?
  • What can new photographs reveal to future researchers about life in Tennessee now?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • Use the images produced by the class to enhance a Google Earth map of your local area.
  • Upload the images to a Flickr account, and invite the community to contribute through comments and/or additional images.

Helpful Hints

MATERIALS:

  • Photograph Analysis Worksheet
  • Shooting Script Worksheet
  • Field Notes handout
  • Editing Worksheet
  • Digital cameras and photo editing software