Friday, March 14, 2014

The World In Black and White

"Mrs Ferris, long ago was all the world black and white?"

I looked at my student and finally grasped he was literally asking me if color was something new.  I had been working with 4th and 5th graders with primary sources.  I had been using black and white photographs.

My youngster had been examining pictures that dated back to the 1880's. (Really old time.) Previously my students had asked me if there were cars back in the 1990's.    I swear there are days when I would guess that some of my students believe I grew up playing with dinosaurs in my back yard.  Yes the concept of time is a bit shaky.

On one level that question is funny.  On another level it shows critical thinking.  Evidence-all pictures from long ago are black and white.  Today all pictures have color.  I would guess most of my kids have never owned a black and white TV.  Probably never seen a traditional camera.  Film is a totally unknown concept.

I could see that the idea of no color had troubled him.  He could not imagine a world in black and white.


  1. It seems like so long ago....and yet it really wasn't in the history of photos! I love the "ah -ha" moment you explore in this piece.

  2. Yes, the concept of time can be hazy, & we do forget don't we, that children take their own "time" understanding. This never occurred to me, so now I wonder how many of my students in the past might have had this question.

  3. How many kids today know what a record is... 45, LP. or dare I say a 78?

  4. What a great question from your student. I love when students ask questions that really make you think!

  5. Thanks for sharing!! A couple years ago in our elementary hallways a few of us teachers realized for the first time that all of our students were born in the 2000s. What?! It's fun to teach during a millennium change.


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