Using Royalty-Free Stock Images to Provoke Thinking

21st century education is all about concepts. We are constantly looking for ways to provoke student thought and get to the heart of ‘big ideas’ in our units. Using royalty-free stock images is a fun way to get kids thinking.

Try out these ideas to get you started:

  1. Ask students to search a royalty-free site to find a picture that best represents a chosen concept. For example: “Find a photo you think strongly represents connection.”
  2. Show students a selection of photos you’ve collected from a royalty-free site, and see if they can determine the underlying concept.


Activities like this are great opportunities to get kids talking. Encourage students to justify their thinking by asking: What makes you say that? You could also try having students discuss their photo choice with a partner first. And instead of sharing about their own picture, invite students to share the thinking of their partner instead.


Royalty-free sites you can explore: Unsplash, Pixabay, and Pexels.


*Identify a concept that might be represented in the photo. Justify your thinking in a comment below. Ex. The picture could represent the concept of ‘home’ because I think a family lives there.

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