A cartoon represents a visual attempt to engage the reader's
attention to an important issue. This learning activity provides
an opportunity for students to analyse a cartoon. The exercises are
designed to engage students in three levels of comprehension:
- Literal. These questions are very basic; they simply
require students to describe what they see by identifying
symbols and central characters, and recognizing the action
that is going on.
- Inferential. At this level students arrive at a generalization
or conclusion about what the cartoonist is trying to convey
- Critical. Students are encouraged to recognize
bias/objectivity and to cite evidence for it. They are
invited to express their agreement or disagreement with the
message and to support their position.
By engaging in these processes, students will achieve the
Canadian History 1201
- Identify the purpose of key political movements.
- Know reasons used by confederates.
- Examine methods used by confederate groups.
- Retrieve and categorize information from a variety of
- Appreciate history as a product of the interplay between
aspirations, personalities, ideals and cultures.
- Select, read, and view with understanding a range of
literature, information, media, and visual texts.
- Respond personally to texts.
- Respond critically to texts.
- Use writing and other forms of representation to explore,
clarify, and reflect on their thoughts, feelings, experiences,
- Develop and create images with specific intentions such as social or cultural
commentary, or entertainment.
- Apply critical analysis skills to determine how an image is constructed.
- Solve simple design problems using visual elements.
Social Studies Skills
This lesson also promotes the following social studies skills:
Interpreting Visual Formats
- Describe the content of pictorial materials and use related
information in their interpretation.
- Interpret symbols in cartoons and recognize point-of-view.
- Consider the reliability of information sources in terms of
consistency, reasonableness, and objectivity.
- Develop effective content in a piece of writing.
- Achieve effective organization in a piece of writing
- Use fluent sentences.
- Establish and maintain a voice in writing.
- Use effective word choice.
- Achieve effective language conventions.
- Exercises 1-4 may be assigned as independent work in the
form of an in-class or take-home assignment.
- Exercise 5 may be modified for use in a large group context. Have
a student in your class develop a cartoon. Display it in class and ask
for commentary from other students (e.g., exercises 1-3 may be used for this purpose).
Then have the "cartoonist" give his or her reaction to the commentary.