Library of Congress

TPS Quarterly

The Library of Congress > Teachers > TPS Program > Learning Activity (Elem.)

Transportation Now and in the Past


Students work in groups to analyze photographs of different transportation methods from the early 1900s and then compare and contrast transportation in the past with transportation today. As students construct conceptual understanding, they also develop academic language and vocabulary through structured support. The activity offers techniques to support English Language Learners (ELLs).


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

  • identify common methods of transportation in the early 20th century;
  • describe how transportation has changed and how it has remained the same;
  • analyze a historical photograph; and
  • develop academic language and vocabulary in English about transportation.

Time Required

Two 45-minute class periods; activity extension idea requires additional class periods

Recommended Grade Range



Transportation (Cities, Towns)




Standards & Benchmarks

Grades K-4 History

Standard 1. Understands family life now and in the past, and family life in various places long ago

Historical Understanding

Standard 1. Understands and knows how to analyze chronological relationships and patterns


Adapted from a unit plan created by Lisa Hutton, Associate Professor of Teacher Education at the California State University (CSU) at Dominguez Hills and Co-Director of the History Project at the CSU Long Beach and CSU Dominquez Hills.

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