Thursday, May 4, 2017

Political Cartoon Analysis

The yearlong curriculum theme in gifted 5th/6th grade DEB is Conflict. This quarter we are focusing more specifically on historical conflict. I decided to create an interdisciplinary unit of World War II, since throughout the year students seemed to have interest in the events during that time period.

There is an overwhelming amount of information about World War II, therefore, I wanted to see what the students already knew about the war. The students jotted on post-it notes things they knew and wondered about the specific time period. Not surprisingly, the students were familiar about significant events that happened during WWII, such as the Holocaust and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I found that many of them were not completely sure on why countries were involved in the war and why it was being fought. For this reason we started by reading several articles about the causes of WWII, including the Treaty of Versailles, the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler's actions and invasions of countries, and much more. The students also read an article about the League of Nations. 

Many of the articles the students read included a great deal of information. I wanted to make sure they were not only able to comprehend the material, but also able to analyze and judge the information they were learning about in order to retain it. That's why I decided to introduce the students to political cartoons since they became very popular during that time period. We discussed the purpose of political cartoons and what they portrayed, such as symbolism, stereotypes, irony, analogies, etc. I chose political cartoons that related to some of the causes of WWII and what the students recently read about. The images below show the students' analysis of two different cartoons portraying information about the League of Nations. The students then judged which cartoon they believed showed a better representation. Tomorrow the students will create their own political cartoons based on something they have learned about the war form our readings.


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