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Political Cartoon Interpretation Lesson


Social Studies Lessons for High School is designed for social studies teachers to use with their government and history courses. It was developed in response to a shift in education throughout our country: a move away from rote memorization and toward the critical thinking skills necessary for many of the new performance assessment programs.

Each lesson will enable teachers to teach seven specific critical thinking skills in a step-by-step process. The information has been adapted for old media and new media formats. Web sites will be provided that will allow teachers to choose the most appropriate resource for the selected activity. All selections can be copied for classroom use. Teachers may adapt activities to allow students to complete assignments via the web.

Robert O. Black is a social studies teacher at the Harbor City Learning Center, and former Teachers Network web mentor.

This lesson is included to help students interpret the many political cartoons they will encounter in government courses. Have students practice frequently with the template, using sample cartoons found in their textbooks, newspapers, news magazines, and data located on the following web sites:

Sample Web Sites:


Baltimore Sun Paper

San Jose Mercury


Additional Political Cartoon Links:

http://cagle.slate.msn.com/

http://paupack.ptd.net/wams/polcarto.htm



The lesson plan and sample student response sheet were developed to match:

Standard
Students will explain roles and analyze strategies individuals or groups may use to initiate change in government policy and institutions.

Indicator 
Students will establish clear criteria for evaluating ideas, issues, or positions.

Because political cartoons often parody controversial issues, an illustration with a student sample response will not be included with activity.

Choose a political cartoon from any of the above web sites or from your choice of hard copy that students will use in this lesson. Make an overhead transparency or individual student copies.

 

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