Engaging Scenario:

An Engaging Scenario creates motivation or sets a scene for students to tap into and apply prior knowledge and skills to problem solving and requires the student to analyze the content in order to comprehend and answer critical thinking questions.

Two photos of Lincoln are presented to the class. One photo is of Lincoln during his Illinois senatorial campaign in 1858. The second photo is of Lincoln just before the first inaugural speech in 1861 (any pre-1860 or post 1864 photo will suffice for this into). Students do a WIO (working it out) response noting what they see in each photo, differences/similarities, and why they think the photos are the way they are, taking note of how Lincoln has aged in a relatively short period of time - remarking on lines on his face. This is a great time for the teacher to make an interdisciplinary connection to symbolism. Students pair and share and then share out for whole class discussion.

Handout One: Photo Analysis and Response

(download Handout 1 Lincoln Photo Analysis doc)
Below is Lincoln before becoming President in 1860:

Photo by Mathew B. Brady (February 1860).
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3a09102/

This is Lincoln in 1865:

Photo by Alexander Gardner (February 1865)
Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3a01998/

What Do You See?

  • How many years older is Lincoln in the second picture?
  • How would you describe his hair in the second picture compared to the first?
  • How would you describe the position of his bow tie in the second picture?
  • In the first picture, Lincoln has one hand by his side and the other resting on a book. What is he doing with his hands in the second picture?
  • Look closely at the faces. What is different in the face of the older Lincoln compared to the younger?
  • Choose a word to describe the portrait of President Lincoln. (ex: tired, calm, sad, confident, uncertain, certain)

Writing Activity:

Imagine it is 1865. How would you describe the portrait of President Lincoln?

  • Choose an adjective. (ex: tired, calm, sad, confident, uncertain, certain).
  • Explain your choice. You might try to see Lincoln from the point of view of a Southerner or Northerner.
  • Use details from the photographs as supporting evidence. Use the frame below as a guide or create your own description.

Example Writing Frame:

In the photographic portrait from 1865, President Lincoln seems _______________( tired, calm, sad, confident, uncertain, certain). His hair and bow tie give the impression of someone who (cares, does not care)__________________about his appearance. The position of his hands makes him look (relaxed, nervous) ________________. If you look closely at his face, you can see he is (defeated, wise)_________________________.

Lincoln photos are found in the Library of Congress Print and Photographs Online Catalog.