Lesson Plan

Understanding & Evaluating Political Cartoons

Students dig deeper into where we see comics in our daily lives, and why we use cartoons to send a message.
Nathan G.
Classroom teacher
Nagoya International School
Nagoya, 23
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My Grades 8, 9, 11, 12
My Subjects Social Studies
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • view and understand the message conveyed in selected political cartoons
  • evaluate the message in selected political cartoons
  • identify the techniques and/or strategies used in drawing political cartoons
  • identify the techniques political cartoonists use to gain support for their opinions conveyed in cartoons
  • communicate their interpretation of selected political cartoons to the class
Subjects
English Language Arts
discussion
reading fluency
Social Studies
citizenship
civic engagement
events
global awareness
government
history
Grades 8 - 11
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 HOOK/ATTENTION GETTER

(i) The teacher prepares and Answer Garden (https://answergarden.ch/) with the following prompts:

  • What kinds of cartoons are there?
  • Where are do we see them in our daily lives?
  • Why do people make cartoons?

 

(ii) The teacher prepares a Slides deck (https://goo.gl/NCXD1R) for students to view as they work in groups. In small groups or with a partner students discuss the purpose and nature of these cartoons, but this time include what is necessary (in terms of knowledge and culture) to understand the cartoons. There are headings for each slide to guide the discussion.

Student Instructions

(i) To generate some thought as to the nature of cartoons in general, students begin by writing 40-character ideas in this Answer Garden: https://answergarden.ch/624494

 

(ii) In small groups or with a partner students discuss the purpose and nature of the cartoons on each slide, taking notes/. However, this time they must include what is necessary (in terms of knowledge and culture) to understand the cartoons. There are headings for each slide to guide the discussion. Ask students to consider what elements of the cartoons help them to understand the meaning, message, and purpose.

2 DIRECT INSTRUCTION

(i) The teacher uses the “Analyzing Political Cartoons” section of the Slides deck (https://goo.gl/knrUxE). Using the cartoon in each of the four slides listed below, the teacher elicits the ideas on the slide and how they connect to the image, giving small groups or pairs a set amount of time to discuss before sharing out. The teacher provides groups/pairs scrap paper to make simple reference notes. As discussion happens the teacher answers questions and clarifies misunderstandings or misinterpretations. 

  • What are Political Cartoons?
  • Why study political cartoons?
  • The Cartoonist’s Strategies
  • Using Symbolism
Student Instructions

Students view the “Analyzing Political Cartoons” part of the Slides deck (https://goo.gl/knrUxE), with the teacher using the cartoon in each slide to elicit the ideas on the four slides that teach how cartoons are constructed. For each slide and cartoon represented the students first have 60 seconds to discuss what is in the cartoon, the target concepts on that particular slide, and any questions they have or areas they don't quite understand. Students can discuss in groups or pairs. Students should write ideas on scrap paper to make reference to during the discussion.

  • What are Political Cartoons?
  • Why study political cartoons?
  • The Cartoonist’s Strategies
  • Using Symbolism

Students then share out (with whatever method of whole-class discussion the teacher chooses). Other groups and pairs are given the opportunity to share their thoughts as well. 

3 INDEPENDENT PRACTICE

The lesson continues on with the same Slides deck (https://goo.gl/ahNmF9). The theme for analysis is globalization'.

  • The teacher divides students into pairs. Each pair has two political cartoons, divided up in whatever way the teacher chooses. (I prefer a random choice)
  • The teacher explains the process to students (that students must interpret one cartoon independently using the prompts below, work with a partner for feedback, and then present to the class)
  • As students work the teacher circulates, listening and prompting students when going off track
  • As students present the teacher provides clarification and feedback, also eliciting alternative interpretations from the class (the teacher should emphasize terminology by using it naturally during discussion/feedback)

Prompts for Analysis

  • What ‘action’ is happening?
  • What people, objects, or things are in the cartoon?
  • What symbols are being used?
  • What is the tone? (positive, negative)
  • Does it show a ‘kind of globalisation’? (social, political, economic, cultural, technological)
  • What is the overall message and do you agree with it? Explain.
Student Instructions

Students are put into pairs in whatever manner the teacher sees fit for the class, and get together with their partner. The theme for analysis is globalization'.

  • Each pair has two political cartoons (divided up in whatever way the teacher chooses)
  • Each student must interpret one cartoon independently using the prompts below
  • Students present their interpretation to their partner, and the partner provides feedback
  • Both partners present their cartoons, at the same time, with the expectation that each supports the other if there is other information missing or forgotten. *limit time to 30-45 seconds in order to move along quickly

Prompts for Analysis

  • What ‘action’ is happening?
  • What people, objects, or things are in the cartoon?
  • What symbols are being used?
  • What is the tone? (positive, negative)
  • Does it show a ‘kind of globalisation’? (social, political, economic, cultural, technological)
  • What is the overall message and do you agree with it? Explain.

 

4 WRAP-UP

The teacher uses some form of an exit ticket. (a Google Form, scrap paper with responses to a prompt, etc) See this sample: https://goo.gl/forms/Q2GJZ9wjkATja46q1

The teacher directs student attention to a YouTube video that reinforces elements of political cartoons. 

Additionally, the teacher introduces an assessment in which students must choose their issue and develop a political cartoon that uses the techniques learned in the lesson. (see the attachments) 

As the assessment progresses through stages the teacher may choose to use the following peer and self-management sheet: https://goo.gl/22GNnP

Student Instructions

Students respond to an exit ticket. https://goo.gl/forms/Q2GJZ9wjkATja46q1

If students are somewhat unclear, or are interested, they can watch the attached YouTube tutorial on political cartoons.

Students will begin a political cartoon assessment (https://goo.gl/TsbgZg). They will start with a draft using the planning sheet: https://goo.gl/midYkz