The idea for this project was inspired by this tweet (https://twitter.com/usefulcharts/status/692106089400238080) from Matt Baker (@usefulcharts). Matt tweeted this chart earlier today, what he described as "[t]he 5-second version of the #civilwar."
The key here, of course, is that the graphic contains absolutely no words! That way, all the meaning and understanding is in the students' heads. That's why I love this; to decode the images the student has to demonstrate clear understanding of the topic.
Here are some options on how you could assign a project like this to your students:
1. Show your students a graphic like this and ask them to describe it in a paragraph. Have them describe each image in the graphic, explain what the image likely means, and then connect the images into a narrative. (It should look something like the paragraph I wrote above.) Each student response should have a title summarizing the graphic's main idea.
2. Show your students this graphic, but use it as an exemplar. Then ask them to create their own graphic relevant to the unit you're currently studying. For my students, because we're discussing Progressive Reform, I could ask them to make a graphic that shows how Progressive Era writers influenced reform on the state and local level, and how that reform ultimately influenced the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and then Woodrow Wilson.
3. On the day your student-created graphics were turned in, shuffle them and hand them out to your students. Ask them to write a paragraph that explains the classmates' graphic.