Introduction to the Study of East Africa — Lesson Plan by Aaron Becker

Recommended Time: two class periods or one class period and one night homework
Please view the photographs in the 'Lesson Plan' Gallery.
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Photographs can be fascinating primary documents that stimulate our interest, teach us new information, or provide support for a thesis. Photographs can also be confusing and frustrating, because so much contextual information is not included, as it would be, for instance, in a textbook. We are about to use digital Winterton Collection of East African Photographs which are held in the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies as an introduction to the study of East Africa. The collection is unbelievably rich, but you will find immediately that while all the photographs are fascinating and informative, they are at the same time perplexing, because we as students are approaching the photographs with so little prior knowledge.

We will approach the photographs as observers and researchers; first we will study the photographs for clues about life in East Africa, then we will decide what information we need to seek to fill in the gaps in our understanding.

Part I: Observations

Answer the following questions in complete sentences. Use at least two photographs to support each answer:

Part II: Research

Select ONE picture that is particularly curious to you, about which you really want to know more, and research one element or topic that you think would enrich your understanding of that photo. Write a paragraph explaining why you chose this photo and summarizing your research, and a brief review of three websites you used to find the information.


Location, Year

Album #, photograph #

Topic researched:

What sparked your curiosity about this photograph, and what did you learn from your research?