Lesson Plan

Analyzing Political Cartoons

Students will analyze political cartoons from online sources. They will write up their analyses in a political cartoon portfolio created in Google Docs.
Linda M.
Classroom teacher
Julian Charter School
Julian, CA
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Science, Social Studies
Objectives

Students will be able to use Google Drive and Google Classroom to create a political cartoon portfolio.

Subjects
Social Studies
Grades 10 - 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Other — analyzing

Show students some political cartoons about current issues. Cagle Political Cartoon collection is a good place to start. Make sure to preview the cartoons first.

Have the students discuss the following questions:

  1. Are political cartoons primary or secondary sources? Why?
  2. What makes a cartoon a political cartoon?
  3. What literary/rhetorical devices does the artist use to make their point?
  4. What symbols are used?

 

2 Direct Instruction

Activity: Other — Analyzing

Provide a political cartoon from the era/event you are studying. This can be projected on the board or copies can be made for students.

Have the students analyze the political cartoon and discuss the following as a class:

  1. Identify the people shown in the cartoon. Why are they drawn the way they are?
  2. Identify the symbols used in the cartoon and what they mean.
  3. Explain what the cartoon is saying and why. Tie the cartoon to its historical context.
  4. Find a primary source (picture, letter, speech, video clip, audio clip) that is related to the cartoon.

Make a template for the Political Cartoon Portfolio that contains the following instructions. You can share this template with students in Google Classroom or Google Templates. I have my students complete 5 political cartoons but you can complete any number.:

Instructions

You will analyze and explain each political cartoon based on your knowledge of what you read in the textbook and in ushistory.org. You should use additional resources to help you understand and identify the people and symbols used in the cartoon.

For each political cartoon, you will do the following:

  • Copy and paste the political cartoon into the portfolio.
  • Paste a MLA citation for cartoon under the cartoon.
  • Identify the people shown in the cartoon.
  • Identify the symbols used in the cartoon and what they mean.
  • Write 2 - 3 paragraphs about what the cartoon is saying and why. Tie the cartoon to its historical context.
  • Find a primary source (picture, letter, speech, video clip, audio clip) that is related to the cartoon. Write a paragraph describing the primary source.
  • Include a MLA citation for the primary source that includes the url or link to the source.

Go over the rubric for the assignment with the students.

Here is the template and rubric that I use with my students.

Student Instructions

Instructions

You will analyze and explain each political cartoon based on your knowledge of what you read in the textbook and in ushistory.org. You should use additional resources to help you understand and identify the people and symbols used in the cartoon.

For each political cartoon, you will do the following:

  1. Copy and paste the political cartoon into the portfolio.
  2. Paste a MLA citation for cartoon under the cartoon.
  3. Identify the people shown in the cartoon.
  4. Identify the symbols used in the cartoon and what they mean.
  5. Write 2 - 3 paragraphs about what the cartoon is saying and why. Tie the cartoon to its historical context.
  6. Find a primary source (picture, letter, speech, video clip, audio clip) that is related to the cartoon. Write a paragraph describing the primary source.
  7. Include a MLA citation for the primary source that includes the url or link to the source.

3 Guided Practice

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Have students login to their Google accounts and find the assignment in Google Classroom. You can also put the document in the template gallery and have students create their own document using the template. Have them open their copy of the political cartoon document. Remind them to share the document with you if they created the document.

Provide a link to another political cartoon from the era/event you are studying.

Complete the questions for the first political cartoon in the portfolio together as a class. Model the type of answers that are expected. Students should be typing in their answers into their own documents.

 

4 Independent Practice

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Students should analyze additional political cartoons and update their portfolio using the political cartoon analysis completed together in class as a guide.

 

5 Wrap Up

Google Drive
Free, Paid
PowToon
Free, Paid
WeVideo
Free, Free to Try, Paid

Students can share their analysis with other students 

  1. Students can create short presentations or videos explaining their analysis of one of the political cartoons that they chose using WeVideo or another video editing tool.
  2. Students can draw their own political cartoons or create short animations based on what they learned using Google Draw or PowToon.