In this activity, students will use questions from an Analyze a Photograph worksheet to examine a photograph of a street scene in Christiansted, St. Croix taken in 1941. They will discuss types of transportation and focus on the theme of changes in technology and society.
Primary Sources in this Activity
Suggested Teaching Instructions
If this is the first-time students are working with a primary source, take a few minutes to introduce the definition of primary source and to provide a few examples. Ask students if they can think of additional types of primary sources. If none are provided, give more examples. Explain how a primary source is different from a secondary source.
Tell students that they are going to examine a primary source, a photograph from 1941 of Christiansted, St. Croix.
Load the photograph on the smart board, or on computers. Also load the Analyze a Photograph worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions on the worksheet.
Analyze the Primary Source
Using the questions from the Analyze a Photograph worksheet, lead students through a photograph analysis and discussion. You may load the Analyze a Photograph worksheet on the smart board or on computers so that you can lead students through answering the questions, print the worksheet and distribute to your students, or adapt the questions from the worksheet to create your own. Primary Source Analysis Worksheets
Complete the four parts.
- Meet the Photo
- Observe its parts
- Try to make sense of it.
- Use it as historical evidence.
After observing the photograph and completing the questions on the worksheet, engage students in a discussion about changes in transportation and society. Ask the class to list all the types of transportation they can see in the photograph. What do the transportation types shown in the photograph suggest about how transportation is changing in 1941? Have students use clues from the photograph to explain their answers. How might the different vehicles be used by their owners in 1941 – for example the car versus the horse drawn wagon?
The teacher can present a current map of St. Croix to help students understand that there are two towns on St. Croix, and to discuss what was outside of the towns in 1941, like cane fields. Some farmers in 1941 used horse drawn wagons and donkeys to help carry goods to the markets in town. What types of vehicles might a farmer use today?
Do we still use all the methods of transportation shown in the photograph from 1941? Ask students to list one of the transportation types shown in the photograph that is no longer used today.
The photo’s title says that it is a Saturday afternoon on a business street. There are people walking, cars, horse wagons, and a person with a wheelbarrow. What other observations can students make about the people, buildings and activities captured in the image?
For students familiar with St. Croix, the photo is a street scene in Christiansted, do you recognize the street? Can you see any similarities or differences to what it looks like today? Crucian students might notice that the traffic on King St. is going from east to west in the 1940s. Today, traffic flows from west to east on that street.