Who is the leader?

Photo is public domain from Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress provides vivid photographs from the past. One collection of photographs from the turn of the previous century, the Detroit Publishing Collection, supports powerful inquiry with a search engine. These photographs offer clues to the conditions of life in these earlier times.

1. Click here to open the search engine at The Library of Congress (a white box half way down the page where you may type words) on this page to find a picture about "coal breaker boys." Type the words "coal breaker boys" into the search box. Do not include quotation marks.

2. Once you find the picture, enlarge it by clicking on the thumbnail and then point your cursor into the middle of the photograph. Hold your mouse button down or right mouseclick until a menu appears which includes the option "Copy." Select the image, and then paste the photograph into a word processing file.

3. Now join with your partner to probe beyond the obvious and infer psychological content. Who is the leader of this group? Write down your choice and then make a list of at least 8 reasons why you selected that one person over the others. Make your reasons as specific as possible, supplying the visual data, details and evidence to build your case. Make sure you comment on lunch boxes, body language and facial expressions. Add concrete visual detail to back any comments. If an expression seems "smug," what exactly contributes to your interpretation? Is it the shape of the mouth? a twist of the lips?

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