Congress in the Public Eye A Look at American Political Cartoons

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					              Congress in the Public Eye: A Look at American Political Cartoons

    Lesson 2: How Do People Express Views about Congress? ― The Role of Political
                             Cartoons and Public Voice

Lesson Overview

The purpose of this lesson for Teaching with Primary Sources is to facilitate students‘ understanding of how
the relationship between citizens and government is based on freedom of expression. It focuses on ways that
citizens can voice their views about government and highlights freedom of expression as important to the
health of our representative democracy. Students will investigate the artistic and persuasive techniques used
by political cartoonists, evaluate the meaning of cartoons, and begin to formulate their own ideas about our
government and how Congress works. Students will also learn how to become more informed, evaluate
several ways that individuals can express opinions, discuss the effectiveness of various forms of
communication, and practice communicating their own civic views.

Focusing on these Library of Congress Collections:
       Prints and Photographs Online Catalog: American Cartoon Prints
       Herblock‘s Gift: Selections from the Herb Block Foundation Collection
       Herblock‘s History: Political Cartoons from the Crash to the Millennium
       ―With an Even Hand‖: Brown v. Board at Fifty
       Votes for Women
       Women of Protest
       Miller NAWSA Suffrage Scrapbooks, 1897-1911

Recommended Grade Level
Grades 8–12

Media Studies


Generally, this lesson connects to standards on civic ideals and practices and historical and social studies
analysis skills.


This lesson is comprised of several ―mini‖ activities, many of which may be taught in isolation. Activities
One, Four, and Five are designed to take approximately 60 minutes. Activity Two should take two 60-minute
class sessions. Activity Three should take two 60-minute class sessions, in addition to homework time.

Activity Index

Activity 1: Understanding Persuasion Techniques
Activity 2: Understanding Historical Context
Activity 3: Analyzing Political Cartoons
Activity 4: Expressing Political Views [Currently Under Development]
Activity 5: Creating Your Own Political Cartoon [Currently Under Development]

Lesson Objectives

Understanding Objectives: WHAT students will           Process Objectives: HOW students will learn.
understand                                             Students will actively:

Students will understand:                                            (A1) describe the personal and
       that citizens are guaranteed specific rights                  political rights expressed in the First
        in the U.S. Constitution and Amendments;                      Amendment of the United States
       how Congress and its role in major
        historical events has been portrayed in                      (A1, A3, A4) identify artistic and
        political cartoons, and how these cartoons                    persuasive techniques used in
        influenced Congress and the public;                           political cartoons;

       ways for citizens to express views and why                   (A1, A3, A4) analyze issues
        it is important.;                                             addressed in political cartoons;

       long-standing criticisms of Congress and                     (A2) use historical context to clarify
        determine the validity of these criticisms;                   meanings of political cartoons;
                                                                      (A4) explain ways that people can
       how to use resources available through the                    become informed before developing
        Library of Congress to study issues relating                  views about issues and institutions;
        to public perceptions of Congress.
                                                                     (A4) explain why it is important for
                                                                      citizens to communicate their views
                                                                      to government representatives;

                                                                     (A4) identify ways citizens can
                                                                      form, express, support, and
                                                                      communicate their political views
                                                                      and evaluate the effectiveness of the
                                                                      various forms of expression;

                                                                     (A5) identify current criticisms of

                                                                     (A5) identify issues currently being

                                                                       debated by Congress; and

                                                                      (A5) draw a political cartoon that
                                                                       expresses a political view.

Lesson Materials

NOTE: Teachers should preview all sites to ensure they are age-appropriate for their students. At the time of
publication, all URLs were valid.

Digital Resources from the Library of Congress

 Prepare for projection

       It‘s No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons
       ―That‘s The Free World Deciding How Free to Be‖ by Bill Mauldin
       ―A Burp Special. October 9, 1944‖ by Chick Young
       Photograph of Chauncey Mitchell Depew
       ―Depew—New York‘s ‗Independent and Unfettered‘ United States Senator‖
       ―I‘m Eight. I Was Born on the Date of the Supreme Court Decision‖ by Herblock
       ―One Nation . . . Indivisible‖ by Herblock
       ―Would the Soldier Give Her the Ballot?‖ by Oscar Cesare

 Duplicate and Distribute

       ―The Cartoon‖ by Herb Block

Resources from the Center on Congress at Indiana University

Prepare for Projection or Viewing in an Internet-Ready Computer Lab

       Introductory Module: Congress in the Public Eye: A Look at American Political Cartoons
       Understanding Persuasion Techniques
       Exploring Primary Sources
       Understanding Historical Context
       Analyzing Political Cartoons
       Expressing Political Views
       Creating Your Own Political Cartoon

Duplicate and Distribute
            10 Ways to Contact Your Member of Congress

Other Resources

            The U.S. Constitution, specifically the First Amendment
            Copies of a local newspaper from several days or weeks

Lesson Equipment and Other Supplies

            Student access to Internet-ready, Macromedia FLASH®-enabled computers or computer lab
            Projection device with one Internet-ready computer
            Optional: flatbed scanner

Lesson Vocabulary

    analogy*                    An analogy is a comparison between two unlike things that share some

    civil rights                rights of personal liberty guaranteed in the Constitution

    critique                    Citizens and cartoonists often analyze, review, study, assess, or criticize--
                                offering a critique of an issue or political action.

    exaggerate*                 Sometimes cartoonists overdo, or exaggerate, the physical characteristics of
                                people or things in order to make a point.

    irony*                      Irony is the difference between the ways things are and the way things should
                                be, or the way things are expected to be. Cartoonists often use irony to express
                                their opinions on issues.

    label*                      Cartoonists often label objects or people to make it clear exactly what they
                                stand for.

    political cartoon           A political cartoon is a drawing that makes a statement about a political event
                                or issue.

    public policy          A decision, law, or other action of government that addresses problems and
                           issues. Some policies are passed into laws, and some policies are contained in
                           rules and regulations.

    rights                 In this lesson, a right refers to the powers and privileges granted to citizens.

    responsibilities       Duties or obligations

    symbol*                Cartoonists use simple objects, or symbols, to stand for larger concepts or

*Definition from the Cartoon Analysis Guide:

Procedures and Learning Experiences
The following five Procedures and Learning Experiences may be completed as a lesson or as separate

Lesson Opener

Expressing Views about Congress                                               Note: Students will analyze
                                                                              the cartoons in the
                                                                              introductory module in other
    1. Use a projection device with a single Internet-connected computer      activities.
       (or take the class to a computer lab), to show students Congress in
       the Public Eye: A Look at American Political Cartoons.                 Ongoing Assessment:
                                                                              Informal Teacher
      Read the nine criticisms listed in the module aloud. Take a quick       Assessment
      poll to see which criticisms students agree with. Have students         Listen to students‘ responses
      explain why they agree or disagree with these criticisms and how        during the whole class
      they might begin to interpret the results of their class poll.          discussion and assess their
                                                                              understanding of the three
    2. Ask students what means citizens can use to express agreement or       criticisms described in the
       disagreement to those elected to represent them in the Congress.       introductory module:
                                                                              Congress and the Public Eye:
    3. Write the following terms on the board:                                A Look at American Political
                                                                              Cartoons. Assess their
                                                                              knowledge of the various
         newspaper article
                                                                              forms of political expression.
         Internet blog
         petition
         song
         cartoon
         letter/e-mail
         speech
         play

    4. Ask students which of these items they think can best be used as a
       form of political expression and which of these media they are most
       likely to use to express their views.

    5. Ask students to select one of the nine criticisms of Congress from
       the module, and then choose one of the means above to
       communicate their initial view about this criticism.                   Formal Teacher Assessment
                                                                              Assess the degree to which
    6. [OPTIONAL] Have students research the criticism they selected          students are able to develop
       and see if their initial view remains the same or needs to be          and defend their point of
       modified once they become more informed. Ask students to keep a        view, as well as present
       record of the ways they used to become more informed about the         reference sources they used
       issues and build a list of possible ways that people can learn about   to become informed.
       issues to inform their views.

Procedures and Learning Experiences―Asking students to think about and apply the content.

Activity One: Understanding Persuasion Techniques

I. Introduction to Political Cartoons                                           Ongoing Assessment: Informal
                                                                                Teacher Assessment

    1. Read the First Amendment aloud to students. Ask students to              Listen to student responses
       summarize what rights are granted in the First Amendment and             and evaluate their
       explain how these rights apply to their own lives.                       understanding of the First
    2. Explain to students that ―freedom of speech‖ includes not only the
       written and spoken word, but also other forms of expression such as
       art, photographs, films, and advertisements. Americans have been    Assess students‘
       expressing their views in political cartoons for over 200 years.    understanding of the
                                                                           difference between political
                                                                           cartoons and comic strips.
    3. Duplicate and distribute the following resources:

          ―That‘s The Free World Deciding How Free to Be‖ by Bill

          ―A Burp Special. October 9, 1944‖ by Chick Young

    4. Have students work in groups to quickly create a chart comparing
       and contrasting the two cartoons. Allow students to share their
       charts with the class.

    5. Explain to students that ―That‘s the Free World Deciding How Free
       to Be‖ is an example of a political cartoon. A political cartoon is a
       drawing that makes a statement about a political event or issue. ―A
       Burp Special. October 9, 1944‖ is an example of a comic strip. It
       was created for entertainment.

II. Artistic Techniques Used in Political Cartoons                              Ongoing Assessment: Informal
                                                                                Teacher Assessment
    1. Explain to students that in order to understand the meaning of a
       political cartoon, it is important to examine the artistic and           Examine the comparison
       persuasive techniques the artist used. Artists often use the basic art   chart students created. Listen
       elements (color, value, line, shape, form, texture, and space) to        to student responses during
       convey ideas and evoke specific emotions.                                the whole class discussion to
                                                                                assess the ability of students
    2. Print copies of the resources listed below:                              to identify artistic features
                                                                                and evaluate the
                                                                                persuasiveness of a cartoon.
          Photograph of Chauncey Mitchell Depew
        ―Depew—New York‘s ‗Independent and Unfettered‘ United

           States Senator‖

     3. Divide the class into groups of three or four and give each group
        one copy of the photograph ―Chauncey Mitchell Depew.‖

     4. Have groups write five adjectives that describe the photograph

     5. Give each group a copy of ―Depew—New York‘s ‗Independent and
        Unfettered‘ United States Senator.‖ Ask groups to write five
        adjectives that describe the cartoon. Students should use the art
        elements (color, value, line, shape, form, texture, and space) to help Teacher Formal Assessment
                                                                               Assess each student‘s ability
        you select adjectives.
                                                                               to formulate a reasonable
                                                                               initial interpretation of the
     6. Have students create a chart that compares and contrasts the two
                                                                               cartoon, the means by which
        views of Chauncey Mitchell Depew. Invite groups to share their
                                                                               the student gained
                                                                               background information, and
     7. Discuss student reactions to the pictures.                             how the original
                                                                               interpretation of the cartoon
         Does the cartoon make you view Chauncey Depew differently            was changed by gaining
            than the portrait? Why?                                            more background
         Does the cartoon make you view Chauncey Depew favorably
            or unfavorably? Which artistic features influenced your
    8. Ask groups to use the title and clues from the political cartoon to
       make a possible interpretation of the meaning of the cartoon.

    9. Ask groups to do brief research to confirm or revise their initial
       interpretation. Ask students to keep a list of the ways that they
       use to become informed about this cartoon (sources). Make a list
       and discuss the variety of ways used by the students and what
       knowing the background adds to the ability to interpret the cartoon.

III. Persuasive Techniques Used in Political Cartoons
     1. Use a projection device to show students:
        ―I‘m Eight. I Was Born on the Date of the Supreme Court
        Decision‖ by Herblock.
     2. Divide students into small groups of three or four. Have the groups
        develop a list of questions they can ask to help them understand the
        meaning of the cartoon.
     3. Invite groups to share their list of questions. Note whether any of
        the questions are the same across groups.
                                                                               Ongoing Assessment: Informal

                                                                               Teacher Assessment
    4. Explain to students that political cartoons differ in artistic style;
       however, most cartoonists apply the same persuasive techniques.         Check while students are
       Identifying these techniques in a cartoon can help you understand       completing It‘s No Laughing
       the message being conveyed.                                             Matter: Analyzing Political
                                                                               Cartoons to evaluate the
    5. [ONLINE] Use a projection device with a single Internet-connected       extent to which students are
       computer (or take the class to a computer lab) to show students It‘s    able to identify the
       No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons.                       persuasive techniques.

       Read the definition for each persuasive technique aloud.           Formal Culminating
       Before you proceed to the ―Test Yourself‖ section, ask students to Determine from the written
       look at the questions they previously developed. (See step 2.)     responses the extent to which
       Discuss how identifying some of the persuasive techniques can help students are able to apply
       them answer these questions. Ask students to write the answers to  categories from It‘s No
       some of their questions.                                           Laughing Matter in
                                                                          analyzing political cartoons.
       As a class, complete the ―Test Yourself‖ section and identify the
       persuasive techniques used in each cartoon.
    6. Give students additional practice identifying persuasive techniques
       used in political cartoons. Ask students to complete the online,
       interactive activity: Understanding Persuasion Techniques. Note:
       If you do not have access to the computer lab, duplicate and
       distribute the printable version of this activity.
    7. Before students begin, describe the steps involved in completing the

          Select a cartoon. Read the text and look for details in the
          Click on one of the techniques listed on the notebook paper.
          Type several sentences that describe how the artist used this
           technique in this cartoon.
          Save and close the activity.

Procedures and Learning Experiences―Asking students to think about and apply the content.
Activity Two: Understanding Historical Context

I. Examining how Specific Events and Issues Influence Cartoonists              Ongoing Assessment: Informal
                                                                               Teacher Assessment
     1. Invite students to brainstorm about where they think cartoonists get   Listen to student responses
        their ideas for cartoons. List student responses on the board.         during the discussion of Herb
                                                                               Block‘s essay and assess
     2. Duplicate and distribute ―The Cartoon‖ by Herb Block. Explain to
                                                                               their understanding of the
        students that this essay describes how Herb Block, long-time
                                                                               purpose of political cartoons.
        cartoonist for the Washington Post, came up with ideas for political
     3. Ask students read the article.                                         During the discussion about
                                                                               historical context, evaluate
     4. Discuss the article with the class, using the following as prompts     students‘ understanding of
        for discussion:                                                        how knowledge about the
                                                                               time and place a cartoon was
           According to Herb Block, what is a political cartoon? How are      created helps you understand
            political cartoons different from other cartoons?                  the meaning.
           Why are political cartoons inclined to be negative?
           How does Herb Block come up with ideas for cartoons?
           According to Herb Block, what is the cartoonist‘s relationship
            to the government? Why do you agree or disagree with this
     5. Tell students that, like Herb Block, many cartoonists are inspired
        by specific events and issues. In order to more fully understand the
        message of older political cartoons, it is helpful to have some
        knowledge about the time and place the cartoon was created.
     6. Use a projection device to show students ―I‘m Eight. I Was Born
        on the Date of the Supreme Court Decision‖ and ―One Nation. .
        .Indivisible.‖ Ask students to quickly examine these cartoons and
        speculate about when they were created and what historical events
        may have inspired Herb Block. Then go to the ―Learn More‖
        section of It‘s No Laughing Matter: Analyzing Political Cartoons,
        and have students listen to the explanations by Sara Duke.
     7. Discuss how knowledge of the historical context of the cartoons
        makes it easier to understand the meaning of them.

II. Researching the Historical Background of a Cartoon

     1. Have students name sources of information about historical events.
        Students may identify sources such as textbooks, Web sites, radio
        and news broadcasts, or newspaper articles. Create a list on the

     2. Ask students which of these resources they would most likely use to
        conduct research about an historical event.

     3. Explain to students that people can get their information from
        primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are actual records
        that have survived from the past. They were part of a direct
        personal experience of a time or event. Letters to Members of
        Congress and journal entries are two examples of primary sources.
        Secondary sources are accounts of the past created by people
        writing about events sometime after they happened. For example, a
        textbook is a secondary source. Ask students to describe some other
        examples of primary and secondary resources.

     4. [ONLINE] Have students complete the Exploring Primary Sources
        activity. While students are browsing the online collections at the
        LOC, have them select two resources they find particularly
        interesting. Invite them to share these resources with the class and
        explain why these are considered primary resources.

     5. Write the following questions on the board:

          Who is the author? What do you know about the author?
          For what audience was this created?
          What was the purpose of this source?
          What sorts of information does this source provide?
          What is the main idea conveyed? What evidence does the
           author give to support his or her ideas?

     6. Explain that all sources of information have a point of view, or
        bias. When interpreting historical sources, you should consider the
        questions written on the board.

     7. Select one resource from the Exploring Primary Sources activity.
        (See Step 4.) Collaborate with students to analyze the resource and
        answer each question written on the board.

     8. Divide students into small groups of three or four. Assign each

         group one of the following resources from ―With an Even Hand:‖
         Brown v. Board at Fifty:

           Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine: ―Daisy Bates to Roy
            Wilkins on the treatment of the Little Rock Nine‖
           Meredith Enrolls at Ole Miss: The Birmingham News
            (Birmingham, Alabama), Monday, October 1, 1962.
           Federal Assistance Needed: ―John A. Morsell, Assistant to
            NAACP Executive Secretary to President John F. Kennedy
            Requesting the Assistance of the Federal Government in the
            Case of James Meredith‖
           Obstruction and Delays in Virginia: ―Draft per curiam
     7. Ask students to examine these documents, read the information
        about them, and write answers to the questions listed on the board.

     8. Invite groups to share their answers.

     9. Ask students how examining these resources can help them
        understand Herb Block‘s cartoons: ―I‘m Eight...‖ and ―One
        Nation... Indivisible.‖

III. Understanding Historical Context
                                                                              Formal Culminating
     1. Duplicate and distribute, ―Would the Soldier Give Her the Ballot?‖    Assessment— Teacher
        by Oscar Cesare. Ask students quickly examine this cartoon,
        speculate when it was created, and consider what historical events    Examine students‘ timelines
        may have inspired the cartoonist.                                     and listen to their
                                                                              interpretation of the cartoon.
     2. [ONLINE] Have students complete the Understanding Historical          Assess students‘ ability to
        Context activity. This activity will help students learn about the    analyze resources and
        circumstances that led to women‘s suffrage becoming a bill before     evaluate how well they
        Congress and give them a better sense of the historical context for   communicate and support
        the cartoon.                                                          their views.

     3. Before students begin, explain the process to them:

            Go to the ―Add to Timeline‖ section and click on one of the
            resource types: congressional document, document, image,
            audio, or video. A new screen, ―Add Media and Captions,‖
            will appear.
           Click on the +Add button under the Add Media frame. A new
            window containing a pre-selected list of resources about

           women‘s suffrage will appear.
          Examine these resources, noting the date of the resource as
           well as any pertinent information, and then select one you
           would like to include in your timeline.
          Click on the Add this _____ button. You will be returned to the
           ―Add Media and Captions‖ window, where you can type
           information about that resource in the Date (select from a drop-
           down list), Caption, Copyright, and Description frames. Note:
           You must fill in information for all of these fields before
           proceeding to the next step.
          When you have added all the information for that resource,
           click Submit Entry. You will be returned to the main Timeline,
           where this resource will be added to the timeline at the bottom
           of the window.
          Repeat the steps above until the timeline contains all of the
           resources that you want to include.
          Explore your timeline.
            o Notice that the images associated with each resource have
              been arranged in sequential order along the timeline,
              according to the date you selected.
            o Clicking on any of those small images will bring your
              information into the main viewing area: Caption,
              Copyright information, and Description.
            o The date appears in the top corner of the main viewing
     4. Give students the opportunity to share their timelines with the class
        and briefly summarize what they learned about women‘s suffrage.
     5. Ask students to analyze the cartoon, ―Would the Soldier Give Her
        the Ballot?‖ Have students interpret the meaning and explain how
        examining primary and secondary sources about women‘s suffrage
        helped them understand the cartoon.

Procedures and Learning Experiences―Asking students to think about and apply the content.
Activity Three: Analyzing Political Cartoons

 I. Exploring How Citizens Can Stay Informed

     1. Explain to students that our representative democracy is based
        on the notion that ordinary people have the right and
        responsibility to be involved in their governance. If we want
        our representatives to do their job well, we must keep
        informed of current issues, analyze what is being presented by
        the media, and form and support our own opinions.

     2. As a class, brainstorm ways citizens can become more
        informed about issues before committing to a viewpoint.
        Students may say that citizens can gather information from
        newspapers, the Internet, television, or radio.

     3. Take a poll to find out how students prefer to learn about
        current issues. Have students explain why they prefer some
        sources of information over others.

     4. Guide students in considering the differences among
        resources. Discuss how the same issues or events could be
        presented in different ways.

 II. Analyzing News Sources                                              Ongoing Assessment:
                                                                         Informal Teacher
     1. Write the following questions on the board:                      Assessment
                                                                         Walk around the classroom
             What is at issue?                                          while students are working in
             Who are the participants on different sides of the         small groups and assess
              issue or conflict? What are their different proposals      students‘ ability to analyze
              in attempting to resolve the issue or conflict?            news sources and detect bias.

             Where is the issue or conflict taking place?               .

             For how long has this been an issue?
             Why do the different sides have different ways of
              solving the issue or conflict? Do the different sides
              want to use different means of arriving at the same
              result, or are their goals different?

     2. Tell students that when reading or analyzing news
        sources, it is helpful to answer these questions.
                                                                         Teacher Assessment:

     3. Divide students into groups of four. Duplicate or         Assess papers and evaluate
        distribute The Moorpark Enterprise. Explain to students   student‘s ability to analyze
        that this newspaper was published during the Dust Bowl.   issues and formulate their
        Have students quickly explain what they know about the    own opinions.
        Dust Bowl. If needed, have them skim a history
        textbook to get some background information about the
        Dust Bowl.

     4. Ask each group to read, ―The Farmer‘s Corner‖ from
        The Moorpark Enterprise and answer the questions
        written on the board. Invite groups to share their
        answers with the class.

     5. Tell students that every source is biased in some way.
        News sources tell us only what the creator of the
        document thought happened, or perhaps only what the
        creator wants us to think happened. Guide students in
        considering how to detect bias in news sources by
        exploring the following online resources with them:

           University of Michigan‘s News Bias Explored

           University of Washington‘s Detecting Bias in the

     6. Have groups examine The Moorpark Enterprise for bias.

     7. As a class, generate a list of issues students are
        interested in. Have each group choose one issue and
        learn more about this issue by examining four different
        news sources. Students should examine news sources for
        several days.

     8. Have groups write a paper in which they explain the
        issue they examined, discuss the opposing viewpoints
        about the issue, describe any factual discrepancies
        among the news sources, and discuss whether a
        particular source influenced their opinion.

III. Evaluating Differing Opinions in Political Cartoons            Ongoing Assessment:
                                                                    Informal Teacher
     1. Explain to students that one way to learn about differing
        sides of an issue is to examine political cartoons.         Teacher Informal
        Political cartoons can show opposing viewpoints of the      Assess students‘ ability to
        same issue.                                                 analyze each side of an
                                                                    argument with reasonable
     2. Quickly review the persuasive techniques that political     support.
        cartoonists often use by going over The Cartoon
        Analysis Guide with students. Then show students
        ―Election Day!‖ and ―Uncle Sam (as "Public Opinion")
        Embracing Nurse. . .‖

     3. Tell students that both of these cartoons were created
        during the women‘s suffrage movement.

     4. As a class, analyze each cartoon. Ask:
           What is the cartoon saying?                             Teacher Assessment:
           What persuasive techniques did the cartoonist use?      Assess the reasonableness of
           What, if any, action is being advocated?                the original view and the
           How well did the cartoonist portray the main point      explanation students provide
            of the cartoon?                                         for retaining or modifying
           Which cartoon did you find more persuasive? Why?        their initial view.

     5. Divide the class into small groups of four, and give each
        group a copy of two to four different newspapers. Have
        each group find the political cartoons located in the
        opinion or editorial section of the newspaper.

     6. Ask each group to analyze two cartoons about the same
        issue and summarize the cartoonists‘ opinions about the
        issue. Then have students formulate their own opinion
        about the issue and raise questions that they might need
        to research in order to develop a more fully-informed

     7. Invite groups to share their analysis of the cartoon,
        discuss what their current views are on the topic, and
        share questions they need to research to become more

     8. Have each student research the issues depicted in the
        group‘s political cartoon and write one paragraph
        explaining how background information caused them to

        confirm or modify their initial view, and why. Ask
        students to make a list of the sources they used to help
        them become informed.

     9. Ask students to share the results of their research and
        discuss various ways that people can become more
        informed about issues before committing to a viewpoint.

IV. Understanding Political Cartoons
                                                                      Formal Culminating
     1. [ONLINE] Tell students that political cartoons often          Assessment—
                                                                      (Teacher) Examine each
        create cartoons about how Congress works. These
                                                                      student‘s response and assess
        cartoons often influence people‘s opinions about the
                                                                      his or her understanding of
        legislative branch. Have students analyze cartoons that
                                                                      the cartoon. Evaluate the
        address some common criticisms of Congress and begin
                                                                      student‘s ability to
        to formulate their own views about Congress. Ask
                                                                      effectively communicate and
        students to complete the online activity: Analyzing
                                                                      support his or her views
        Political Cartoons. Note: If you do not have access to the
                                                                      about the artistic style and
        computer lab, duplicate and distribute the printable
                                                                      persuasiveness of the
        version of this activity.
     2. Before students begin, introduce the process to them. Tell
        students they must first select one cartoon. Then read the
        prompts listed in each bubble aloud and make sure
        students understand what is being asked. Explain that in
        order to enter their answers to the prompt, they must first
        click on the bubble. Another box will appear. Students
        can then type their response. When they are done, they
        must click on the ―Save and Close‖ button. After students
        respond to all the prompts, they should click on the
        ―Save‖ button located at the top of the screen.

Procedures and Learning Experiences―Asking students to think about and apply the content.

Activity Four: Expressing Political Views

Currently Under Development

Procedures and Learning Experiences―Asking students to think about and apply the content.

Culminating Activity: Creating Your Own Political Cartoon

Currently Under Development

Lesson Review

Lead students in an extensive debriefing of the information and skills they gained from this unit. Questioning
strategies should prompt reflective thinking—specifically, encouraging responses to why, how, and what.
Include questions that require students to apply their knowledge to real-world or current-event situations.
Some examples are provided to help you begin your classroom discussion. Select as many or as few as your
time and situation allows.

Analysis and Evaluation—Lesson Content

     1. What rights are guaranteed by the First Amendment?
     2. How do the provisions of the First Amendment relate to the role of the cartoonist and the role of
     3. How can people learn about issues so they can develop informed views?
     4. Why is it important to express your political views?
     5. What are different ways to express your political views?

Analysis and Evaluation—Information Literacy

     1. What persuasive features do most political cartoons have?
     2. Where can you find information to help you understand the historical background of a political
        cartoon as well as the background of current issues?
     3. Why are political cartoons an effective way of communicating ideas about government?
     4. Why is it important to be able to evaluate the meaning of political cartoons?

Lesson Reflection

Knowledge, Comprehension, and Analysis

The following prompts may be used as a written quiz or a class discussion.

     1. What personal and political rights are granted to citizens in the First Amendment of the U.S.
     2. Why is it important for citizens to communicate their views with Members of Congress?
     3. How can citizens become informed and communicate and support their views?
     4. How do political cartoonists use artistic techniques to persuade others?
     5. What persuasive features do most political cartoons have?
     6. How can citizens determine whether or not criticisms of Congress are valid?

Synthesis and Application

Ask students to look through newspapers or conduct a search on the Internet and find two political cartoons
that address the same issue. Have students analyze both cartoons and write a paragraph comparing and
contrasting the cartoonists‘ differing views and persuasive strategies. Ask students to write another paragraph
describing their own position on the issue and the cartoon they most agree with, and defending their point of