Lesson Plan

Join, or Die

Students will analyze the political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin to determine its overall effectiveness at its time.
Brian S.
Special education instructor
Golden Ring Middle School
Rosedale, United States
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My Grades 6, 7, 8
My Subjects Social Studies

Students will be able to...

- analyze primary sources 

- identify key information about the "Join, or Die" article 

- annotate the text 

- summarize the information 

- argue the effectiveness of the political cartoon based on supporting details

Social Studies
Grades 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

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Teacher will have students log into NearPod, enter the Code and begin working on the warm up. Students will be viewing a political cartoon from Benjamin Franklin that was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette. 

Student Instructions

1. What do you think the letters next to the snake mean? 


2. Who do you think is the audience of this political cartoon? 

2 Direct Instruction

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Class will read through a chunked textbook passage to gain information about the "Join, Or Die" political cartoon. As the class is reading through the passages, students will be posting on Padlet what the definition to 5 key terms are: 1. Pennsylvania Gazette, 2. Editorial, 3. Political Cartoon, 4. Allies, 5. Albany Plan of Union. 

Student Instructions

Students will follow along during the reading of "Join, Or Die". As the students follow along to the reading, they will be trying to look for the context clues in order to define 5 key terms. 

3 Guided Practice

Students will work in small groups to begin to analyze the article. Students will be able to answer their questions directly to their BCPSOne Gradebook. 


Student Instructions

Students will work in small groups to answer the following questions online. 

1. According to historians, who created the cartoon? 

2. When did the cartoon first appear? 

3. Where did the cartoon first appear? 

4. What do the letters next to each part of the snake stand for? 

5. Who is the intended audience for the cartoon and editorial? 

6. What is the message of the cartoon? 

7. What is the superstition that the cartoon is based on? 

4 Independent Practice

Activity: Exploring

Students will begin to work directly with the text to find important key details to help them summarize the intention of the article. Students will work with the text and annotate facts that they believe are important to understand the intentional goal of Benjamin Franklin. 

5 Sum - Up

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Students will answer a question to determine if they feel that Benjamin Franklins political cartoon was effective or noneffective for motivating the Colonists to rise up against the French.