The photograph is taken at a market in Thailand. This photograph would lead to a great inquiry in many subject areas. When I look at the photograph, I instantly think about family relationships, foods people eat, and places in our community and other communities.

In the Saskatchewan grade one Social Studies Curriculum we can tackle so many of our outcomes through this photograph. Here is one to think about:

  • Outcome: IN1.2 to Discuss cultural diversity in the family and classroom, including exploration of similarities and differences.

What should I do first with my students when we look at the photograph?

The process you are using is an inquiry one, designed to help everyone develop curiosity.

  • Start simply, by asking students to brainstorm any questions they may have about the photograph.
  • Chart their questions and then classify the questions into groups.
  • Decide which questions we can find answers to and which questions might be difficult to find out.
    • We can figure it out: What kind of fruit is that?
    • We can’t find out: What is that child’s name? Is that his mother?
  • Provide non-fiction books about the topics the children were curious about.
  • Help the children discover answers to the questions they had. Allow them time to look and ask more questions.
  • Have your Teacher Librarian help your students search for answers.
  • Encourage them by asking questions about their world and taking the opportunity to see what they know about themselves and others including  First Nation and Métis perspectives.

Once they are curious, what do we do next?

  • Try a compare/contrast activity by asking the children if any of them have been to a farmer’s market before. How was it the same as the photograph? How was it different? Make a class t-chart or a Venn diagram with clear descriptors and pictures.
  • Make connections to our larger world explicit. The beauty of using a picture from another country is that we just naturally begin to create global citizens. The children see familiar things in unfamiliar places. When they eventually learn that the photograph is in Thailand it will lead them to questions about Thailand. You will know your inquiry has been successful if they still have more questions.