Library of Congress

TPS Quarterly

The Library of Congress > Teachers > TPS Program > TPS Quarterly > Learning Activity (Elem. K-2)

30-Second Look: Classrooms Then and Now


Students practice their observation skills by participating in a timed 30-second look at a historic photograph of a classroom. Students may then work together as a class to record and compare their observations, ideas and questions about the photograph, or they may record their observations individually and pair and share with a partner first. Students conclude by re-examining the photograph to identify similarities and differences between this classroom from the past and their classroom today.


After completing this learning activity, students will be able to:

  • observe details in a historic photograph;
  • express ideas and questions about the photograph based on observations and prior knowledge; and,
  • identify similarities and differences between the historic photograph and their own classroom.

Time Required

One 45-minute class period or less, depending on grade level

Recommended Grade Range



Culture, Folklife




Standards & Benchmarks

Historical Understanding

Standard 2. Understands the historical perspective

Life Skills: Thinking and Reasoning

Standard 3. Level I [Grades K-2] Benchmark 8. Identifies the similarities and differences between persons, places, things, and events using concrete criteria

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