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Protest and Politics

1968, Year of the Barricades

Examining Student Defiance

Learning Targets

  • I can examine photographs to identify key similarities and differences related to historic events.
  • I can use photos as evidence to describe types of protest tactics.


This activity is designed to bring out the similarities in youth protest tactics in different countries (despite different conditions). It is not important for students to know which photos come from which country.

Questions to Consider

  • What could compel students to take great risks in confronting forces that were superior in strength to them?
  • In what way did student tactics make them strong, and in what way did the tactics make them vulnerable?
  • What symbols and gestures used by protestors do the photos depict?
  • How did the use of symbols and gestures advance the protestors’ cause or actions?

Begin the Activity

Hand out copies of or project the images. Divide students into small groups or allow them to work independently. Have them examine the photographs and take notes. Ask groups or individuals to describe what they see. Write down or project these responses so everyone can see them. You may prompt students by asking them to describe the people in the photos. What age do the various people pictured appear to be? What types of clothing are they wearing? Ask them to describe the relationship (e.g., physical proximity) between people pictured, and the numbers of individuals pictured. In what type of locations are these events happening? What, if any, weapons are pictured, and who is in possession of them? Have them describe the mood of the photos.

After you document student responses, have a discussion about what you’ve learned from the images. Have the class assemble a list of questions they have about the events and people pictured.

NOTE: The translation for photo 5056 is available in the detailed view.

next: Examining Protest Movements Around the World by Using Photos and Other Sources

Grade Level

Middle & High School


U.S. History
World History


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Photographs in This Activity

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