Beacon Lesson Plan Library
Interpreting Political Cartoons
Santa Rosa District Schools
This activity is designed to have students locate political situations in cartoons(newspapers, etc. ) They should choose cartoons and write a short essay (3 ) paragraphs about the cartoon, and then present orally to the class.
The student understands the role of special interest groups, political parties, the media, public opinion, and majority/minority conflicts on the development of public policy and the political process.
-News Magazines (Time, Newsweek)
-URL-www.historybuff.com/library/refnast.html—This will give background information on Political Cartoonist
1. Prepare background information concerning the power of the press in politics (Ex. Lincoln/Douglas and Truman/Dewey)
2. Go to Yahoo search engine and type in www.historybuff.com/library/refnast.html
3. Present cartoons for examples to the class.
4. Locate [The Americans] By McDougal, Littell & Company, Published in 1994. Pages 347 and 772.
This lesson can be conducted whenever major political topics are in the news.
1. Explain to students the ideas behind the power of the press, and how the media has influenced governmental decisions throughout history.
2. Present pictures of the first political cartoons developed ( Lincoln/Douglas-Presidential race of 1859). Explain the concept that the media was trying to deliver. Also, other examples that could be used ( Thomas Nast—and—William “Boss” Tweed) Refer to web pages listed in the web links for examples.
3. Next , show political cartoons from current publications and explain the impact the media has on the public. Lead students in discussion on the ideas that are demonstrated.
4. Homework Assignment-- Have students find current political cartoons and write a short essay (at least three paragraphs) Students must have a well-developed essay including a topic sentence with details explaining the content of the cartoon, what the cartoonist was trying to accomplish, and how it could impact society today politically.
5. Student performance will be based on written and oral presentations. Instructions will be stressed to the students not to present their oral reports with irrelevant comments(you know and umm), and explanations will be given to the students to use proper public speaking communication skills.
6. The oral presentation will be graded based on knowledge of the subject, eye contact with the class and the use of clear and concise sentences.
7. Then allow students approximately 3 minutes each to come before the class and share their cartoons and personal notes explaining the political ideas and its impact on society.
8. Allow students to respond with questions and comments.
Students performance will be based on written and oral presentations. Stress to the students not to present their oral reports with irrelevant comments(you know and umm ), and explain to the students the concept of the use of proper public speaking communication skills.
The students will be graded on their written presentations based on content, spelling and neatness.
The oral presentation will be graded based on knowledge of the subject, eye contact with the class, and the use of clear, concise sentences.
Topic Sentence---10 point maximum
Subject Content---10 point maximum
Spelling------------10 point maximum
Neatness-----------10 point maximum
Shows knowledge of subject---10 point maximum
Maintains eye contact with the audience---10 point maximum
Clear sentences--- 10 point maximum
Maximum of 70 points equal a perfect score.
Site contains information about Thomas Nast and may take a minute to load since it contains graphics.History Buff - Thomas Nast