Word-powered Collage

Lesson Plan


Grade Level

Middle School

Author Info


Type of Lesson


Type of Project (Individual/Group/Both)



30-60 minutes

Challenge Question

Make an image collage based on the most used words in a historical document.

Notes to Teacher

Pre-selecting images will speed the process up, but reduced individual expression.


  1. Choose a document

    Select a historical document from the Explore section of this website and add it to your collection, or use one provided in this challenge by your teacher.

  2. Create a Word Cloud

    Right click the “Take Challenge” below to open a new tab or browser to create a new “Project canvas.” Click on “Make a Word Cloud” button above the canvas area.. Drag the document you added to your collection and drop into the “Wordcloud” box that appears. You should see a Word Cloud of the document’s transcript in appear in random color. Resize and place the box as desired.

    Hint: Click on the gear icon on the top right of the “Wordcloud” box to change the color.


    Click on the “Save” button to save your work.

  3. Choose the important words

    Identify 5-10 of the biggest words in the cloud that look most important to you and write them down in order size.

    Hint: In some cases, you may want to combine words that are different forms of the same word (i.e., nouns, adjectives, verbs) or have the same meaning; if so, try to make a mental of how their sizes would change if combined.

    Click on the “Work with Text” button and add your list to the box. Resize and place the box as desired.


    Click on the “Save” button to save your work.

  4. Collect images

    Either in a new tab/browser or your starting tab/brower, use the Search feature or the explore Explore section, to find images that represent each or your keywords and add them to your collection.

    Hint: you can also right-click on the words in the “Wordcloud” box to open up keyword searches in separate window.

  5. Crop images, if desired

    In some cases, you may find you want to use only part of an image to represent your keyword. To do so, go to the image’s page and scroll down to “ACTIONS FOR THIS ITEM” and click on “Edit.” Move and resize the red box with the dotted line until you have highlighted the part that you want and click on the “Crop” icon. Give your selection a new title to save it to your collection.

  6. Arrange your images

    Once you are finished selecting and cropping images, return to your Project canvas page and refresh it. You should now be able to see the images you added to your collection by clicking on the “My Collection” tab. Add images to your canvas by clicking on the “Add an Image” button and pulling an image from your “My Collection” area to the box. Repeat for each image. Arrange the images desired and resize each to reflect the size of the work they represent. Click the “Save” button frequently to make sure you don’t lose any work.

    Hint: You may want to click on the “Add an Image” once for each image before adding your images to any of them. This will help you properly layer your images, because you can’t you can’t easily switch the layers as you go.