Is it a starfish? A mohawk? A flower? What impacts how we view this image? What would help us to have a better understanding of what the image shows?
This is the first image from the book, Zoom, by Istvan Banyai. My 3rd and 4th grade students participated in a lesson based on our theme of perspective using the images from this book. Each student had to describe what he or she saw in their picture without showing the image to their classmates. The goal was to put the pictures in the correct order. Students quickly learned that hearing others’ ideas helped them see different parts of their own picture.
The student holding the first image was describing a starfish based on his perspective of the image. Initially he believed that his picture did not fit with the others. Then taking a step back he had an “Ah ha” moment when he looked at the picture in a new way. The discussion we had at the conclusion of the activity was quite powerful! Students realized that only seeing one part of the whole led them to misunderstand what the image was really showing. This is one of the many lessons in which students have been engaged in looking at an object or situation from a different perspective.
The students are now able to understand how their background and experiences impact their perspectives. I asked the students to reflect on why they feel it is important to learn about perspectives.
“We have learned about perspectives and not jumping to conclusions. Like in Seven Blind Mice, each mouse saw a different object of one big thing but once they put all of it together they found out what the object was.” -Jordan F.
“Everybody will be the same without perspective. Everybody has a different perspective.” – Owen H.
Of course this theme relates to common core standards but it is also an important life lesson. I hope my students will take away the ability to look at situations they encounter every day from a different perspective. Next time they start to jump to a conclusion during a conflict on the playground, or a misunderstanding with a friend or sibling, I hope they will step back and look at the situation from the other person’s point of view.