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Volleyball: The Evolution of the Sport

Lesson Overview


Using primary source pictures, students will analyze the Library of Congress photos to identify differences then and now. Students will identify how the sport was utilized during the time frame of the photo as well as how cultural at that time factored into how the sport was used.

Grade Range:



After completing this activity students will be able to:

  • Analyze a primary source photograph.

  • Interpret information in order to better understand the photo and how it 
    affected the individuals in the photo.

  • Sports including volleyball have been used for recreation and stress relief.

Time Required:

One class period of 45 minutes.


Physical Education


Sports, Recreation


Great Depression/World War II, 1929-1945


Illinois Learning Standards:

Physical Education:

21-Develop team-building skills by working with others through physical activity.



LOC Items, Analysis Tool

Analysis Tool:

The More You Look, The More You See

PowerPoint Slides:

Available in PDF

Library of Congress Items:

Girl and volley ball


Recreation period, Pitcairn, Pa.


Vollyball, (i.e. volleyball) Manzanar Relocation Center, Calif.


Students playing during supervised outdoor recreational period at new FSA (Farm Security Administration) project School, Prairie Farms, Montgomery, Alabama


Volleyball at school, Concho, Arizona


Volleyball in snow, Bolby Field, 2/1/22


Palmer Square volleyball players Johnson, Morris, Larson, Stephenson, Wilson, and captain Fiddelke standing in a room.


Boy scouts playing volleyball on a yard in White Hall, Michigan


Two unidentified male volleyball players jumping on opposite sides of the net on a volleyball court.


Members of the Hamlin Park girls volleyball team sitting and standing in two rows in a room.



Discuss how volleyball has been around for over a century in the United States. We will be examining pictures to analyze how volleyball was different then and now.


Pull up first picture on the PowerPoint (available in PDF). Analyze picture as a group to demonstrate how they will analyze their picture.


Students will be in groups of three or four. Each group will receive a different LOC primary source picture to analyze using the picture analysis sheet.


Students will spend five minutes analyzing picture and completing analysis form.


Students will return to whole group.


Teacher will work through the slide show. When a group's picture comes up, they will present their analysis of the picture.


Pictures without a group will be analyzed by either the teacher or whole class depending on time left.


During group work, the teacher will circulate around the room assisting groups and adding to their overall understanding of the scene. The teacher will facilitate discussion during PowerPoint presentation. Collect handouts.

Author Credits:

Sullivan High School