Lesson Plan: What is Instagram?

Origin of Instagram

Sarah Frier, author of "No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram," talked about how Instagram was started.


Instagram is a social media platform through which people can share images and videos, and connect with family, friends and people across the globe. In this lesson, students will use their media literacy skills as they view videos to learn about the origin of Instagram, how it operates and how it impacts users.


  • SET-UP:

    This lesson offers several options for you to use with your students whether you are teaching in class, using a hybrid model, or engaging through distance learning. It can be completed in steps as a class or students can move at their own pace and complete the activities independently.

    You can post links to the videos in the lesson along with the related handouts and engage in discussion to share responses on a discussion board or learning management system.

    You can also save and share the following Google resources for students to use with this lesson.

    Vocabulary Chart: What is Instagram? (Google Doc)

    Note-taking Chart: What is Instagram? (Google Doc)

    Handout with Questions: What is Instagram? (Google Doc)

    Digital Board with Activities: What is Instagram? (Google Slides)

    In Google, choose "File" then "Make a Copy" to get your own copy. You can make any needed adjustments in the instructions such as which activities students need to complete, when it is due, etc. and then make it available to them via Google.

  • WARM-UP:

    Ask students to share what they know about Instagram to build background knowledge.

    Next, view the video clip below and engage in class discussion with the related question.

    Video Clip 1: Origin of Instagram (1:12)

    Sarah Frier, author of "No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram," talked about how Instagram was started.

    • Explain the origin of Instagram.

    Video Clip 2: Goal of Instagram (2:13)

    Sarah Frier talked about the founders of Instagram, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and their goal when they created it.

    • Describe the first mobile app that Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger developed.

    • What was the goal of Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger in creating Instagram?

    • Explain Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger's background experiences.

    Have students view the following video clips and respond to the accompanying questions. They can watch each video independently or view a video with a partner, prepare responses to the questions and share them in class discussion.

    Video Clip 3: Instagram Influencers (2:22)

    Sarah Frier explained the idea of influencers on Instagram.

    • What is an influencer?
  • Video Clip 4: Instagram Users (1:51)

    Sarah Frier discussed some of the ways people use Instagram.

    • Describe some of the ways people are using Instagram to grow an audience.

    • Explain the success of the "ugly dog" that Sarah Frier discussed.
  • Video Clip 5: Is Instagram a Democratic Process? (1:32)

    Sarah Frier discussed the impact of Instagram on the user experience and how some users grow their followers and engagements.

    • Explain why Sarah Frier contends that Instagram is not a Democratic Process.

    Have students view the following video clip and write their responses to the accompanying questions. Then, ask students to share their reflections through group discussion.

    Video Clip 6: The Impact of Instagram (:57)

    Sarah Frier talked about how Instagram has impacted the way we live, our experiences, and the way we act.

    • Explain what Sarah Frier means when she says: "People are so obsessed with sharing their lives, they aren't actually living them."

    • Do you agree or disagree? Explain your position.
  • Additional Activities:

    What is your position on influencers?

    Summarize your opinion on influencers.

    • Do you support them? Why or why not?

    • If you have an Instagram account, do you follow any influencers? Describe them and explain why you chose them.
  • Create a post!

    Students can use their own Instagram accounts or a class account if you have one. However, they do not need to use an Instagram account for this activity. They can be creative and draw a picture or create a digital slide.

    • Have students share an experience or activity they had.

    • Choose a theme students are studying in class and have them create an image that depicts the main idea of the topic.


  • Algorithm
  • Curate
  • Democratic
  • Economy
  • Incentive
  • Monetize
  • Nostalgic
  • Persona
  • Phenomenon
  • Tactic




Middle SchoolHigh School