Informational Arts


accelerator membership

View the piece “Migrant Mother” from Dorothea Lange. Ask students to share their thoughts about the piece using the “See, Think, Wonder” visual thinking strategy

Have students look deeply at the Wonder column from their reflections of the image and think/ pair/share details from the See and Think columns that could help to guide their research into conclusions that address their “Wonders”.

Lesson Process:

Step 1:  Share with students the list of top 100 songs from 1936 (the year of the Migrant Mother photograph) and provide them with time to listen to a variety. Have them complete a “Hear, Think, Wonder” chart on the music they choose.

Step 2: Compare their findings from Hear, Think, Wonder to their See, Think, Wonder charts. Circle any trends/similarities that they find. Discuss the fact that the woman in this photograph would have been surrounded by this exact music during that time period.

Step 3:  In their discussions both in small groups and as a class, focus on the use of color (black and white in the photograph, timbre in the music) and its effect on the overall piece, as well as any other distinctive details.

Step 4:  Use the information from the reading of both the photograph and the music to inform a conclusion about the events of 1936. Read the article “Migrant Mother” from Eyewitness to History about the eyewitness account from Dorothea Lange documenting her experience documenting these migrant worker camps. This can be used as a lead-in to studying Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

Time Required:
30-45 minutes

Materials List:

  • pencils, pens
  • journals
  • computers
  • See/Think/Wonder Chart
  • Hear/Think/Wonder Chart
  • MP3 player
  • Article “Migrant Mother”
  • Photograph “Migrant Mother”
  • Internet


Documenting History.

Ask students to create an exhibition of work that documents the connection of events surrounding the Great Depression. They may use photographs, articles, music, films, or other primary sources to support any connections they can share about this important time in our history.