Note: This lesson may take 2-3 class sessions to complete
Ohio ELA Standards Used:
Grade(s): 8 - 10
Standard: K-12 English Language Arts Benchmarks: Communications:
Oral and Visual Standard: C. Evaluate the content and purpose of a presentation by
analyzing the language and delivery choices made by a speaker.
Standard: K-12 English Language Arts Grade-Level Indicators: Research: 1. Compose
open-ended questions for research (assigned or personal interest) and modify questions as
necessary during inquiry and investigation to narrow the focus or extend the
Develop critical question to explore the artistic techniques used in political cartoons and how
these techniques impact a cartoon's message
Evaluate an author or artist's meaning by identifying his or her point of view
Identify and explain the artistic techniques used in political cartoons
Analyze political cartoons by using the artistic techniques and evidence from the
cartoon to support their interpretations
A current political cartoon should be placed on the overhead. It should be of interest to students,
an issue familiar to them but with complex aspects that will promote critical thinking.
Ask students to look at cartoon closely and write down any questions or comments they have.
Questions should be about the cartoon's message, the subject of the cartoon or the artist's use of
Let students bounce ideas off of one another and discuss the cartoon, but don't get into answering
any questions just yet. Next, students should have computer access. They will visit
http://lcweb2.loc.gov:8081/learn/features/political_cartoon/index.html. This site has a cartoon
analysis guide and self tests. It's a fun, informative resource for students. Give them time to
Have students return their focus to the front of the room.
Have students return to their original questions about the cartoon on the overhead. Encourage
them to use information from the online activity to answer them. Remind students that there are
two areas to look at when evaluating political cartoons: the subject and the artistic technique.
Continue discussion guided by questions such as how cartoons differ from paper to paper, how
they differ from news articles in general, can they be considered news, point of view and
message of cartoon, are there symbols that stand for a larger concept, is anything labeled, how
does the author use dialogue, etc.
For an assignment, students may either choose a teacher-given cartoon or one they find
themselves. They will have to follow the analysis sheet given and give a short presentation to the
class the next day.
Analysis sheet and presentation