Last updated on: 2/27/2015 | Author:

Main Ideas of Visual Resources – Lesson Plan Idea




Use charts and graphs on to engage students in a visual literacy exercise.

Grades: 5-10

The Activity


As students examine the charts or graphs on the College Education site, invite them to share observations about images, numbers, or trends catch their eyes and why. Then give students a silent 5-10 minutes to examine the resource in detail, prompting them to keep an eye out for patterns or trends. Finally, ask students to create a one sentence “take away.” This sentence would tell anyone who did not have time to examine the resource what the most important idea was. Have 4-5 students share their “take away” statements with the class. During this discussion, point out at least one strength of each statement. Using this feedback, allow students to revise their statements before turning them in.

——————————– Topic: College Education 

Subjects: English / ELA / Language Arts, Writing, Media Literacy, Economics

Common Core Anchor Standards: CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.7, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.5, CCRA.W.5

Common Core Content Standards: RI.1, RI.2, RI.7, W.2, RH.2


Make the lesson easier

  • During the initial sharing of impressions, also ask students to share some predictions for what the main idea of the resource might be. These ideas can serve as prompts for students to create their own “take-away” statements.
  • Try the resource “College Cost and Debt, 2003-2011.”

Make the lesson harder 

  • Have students create a shorter version of their “take away” statement, one brief enough to serve as a newspaper headline (i.e., “College Makes Rich Richer”), and/or a longer version that includes at least one statistic that illustrates their take away.
  • In addition to the their “take away,” have students write about what a reader would miss if they only read a “take away” statement or only briefly glanced at the chart or graph.
  • Try the resource “Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs” or “Median Incomes v. Average College Tuition Rates.”
  • Flip the activity. Have students read an article and then create a visual representation of a key idea in the article.
Related Links


  1. Lesson Plan Ideas with Common Core Correlations
  2. Teachers’ Corner