City of Cranes

PBS Premiere: Dec. 10, 2008Check the broadcast schedule »

Lesson Plan: Perspectives

Download the Lesson Plan

FILM: This lesson plan is designed to be used with the film City of Cranes, part of the POV Shorts Program.

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Please visit our Film Library to find other films suitable for classroom use.

Watch City of Cranes online.


By the end of this activity, students will:

  • Explore the role that "perspective" plays in disciplines such as literature, art and politics.

SUBJECTS: Current events, geography, language arts, civics, arts


LENGTH OF FILM: Approximately 14 minutes


  • Ask students to sit in different seats in the classroom than the seats they usually choose. Then, watch the film and have students note some of the observations made by the crane operators. Discuss how the crane operators' perspectives of the city are different from those of people who live and work there.
  • Explain how "perspective" plays an important role in literature, art, film, mathematics, politics, journalism and other disciplines.
  • Request that each student choose an unusual perspective related to one of the above disciplines and create something that reflects that perspective. Some examples of potential projects:
    • Take a secondary character from a novel the class has read and rewrite an event in the novel from that character's perspective.
    • Create a short film that captures a daily ritual such as school lunch from the perspective of a student from a different culture or social group.
    • Write political commentary about an issue such as U.S. immigration from the perspective of an immigrant in either modern times or a specific historical time period.
    • Debate a controversial issue and then explain the other side's point of view.
    • Examine a number of paintings that depict the same subject and analyze how the perspective of the painter varies in each.
    • Write a news article about an event that includes eyewitness accounts from a variety of people.
  • Then, ask students to reflect in writing on what they learned from exploring a new perspective.


The POV website features a number of video clips and interview segments that present a variety of topics from a particular point of view or perspective.

These standards are drawn from "Content Knowledge," a compilation of content standards and benchmarks for K-12 curriculum by McRel (Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning).


Standard 11: Understands the role of diversity in American life and the importance of shared values, political beliefs and civic beliefs in an increasingly diverse American society.


Standard 4: Understands the physical and human characteristics of place.

Standard 6: Understands that culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions.

Behavioral Studies

Standard 1: Understands that group and cultural influences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior.