Curriculum Analysis

Analysing Articles

Examining Opposing Viewpoints

Interpreting Folk Songs in History

Interpreting Cartoons

Responding Personally to Historical Information

Preparing to Conduct an Interview

Listening with Discrimination

Generalizing from Historical Data

Analysing Cause and Effect

The Confederation Debate: A Community Perspective

Interpreting Cartoons

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 and why.
  • 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 following outcomes.

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 sources.
  • Appreciate history as a product of the interplay between aspirations, personalities, ideals and cultures.

Language Arts

  • 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, and learnings.

Art Education

  • 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.

Evaluating Information

  • Consider the reliability of information sources in terms of consistency, reasonableness, and objectivity.

Communicating Information

  • 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.

Instructional Approach

  1. Exercises 1-4 may be assigned as independent work in the form of an in-class or take-home assignment.
  2. 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.

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