Political Cartoon Gallery Walk Ideas

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Learning about political cartoons can be a great way to teach students about primary sources and perspective taking. This lesson provides ideas you can use for creating a gallery walk based on political cartoons.

Teaching with Gallery Walks

Are you trying to spice up your teaching by incorporating more opportunities for students to think actively and get involved in their own learning? A gallery walk can be a wonderful strategy that really requires students to put their minds to work. In gallery walks, you put different materials and questions in places around your classroom. Students mill around individually or in groups and write down or discuss their answers and thoughts related to the ideas you have posted. Ideally, you then bring students together to reflect on what they have discovered.

If you are teaching about political cartoons, you have a great opportunity to make use of a gallery walk. Political cartoons have so much to offer in terms of showing students how primary sources work as well as how people can reflect different perspectives on the same topic. The gallery walk ideas in this lesson allow you to teach about political cartoons creatively.

Cartoons Over the Ages

This kind of gallery walk is great for teaching students about the evolution of the political cartoon as a genre, and it will help students understand that like any other art form, the political cartoon has played different roles in different times.

Choose about five different political cartoons from different time periods, and hang them in different places around your classroom. Under each cartoon, post the following questions:

  • What is happening in this cartoon?
  • What ideas do you think the cartoonist is trying to express, and what aspects of the cartoon itself support your theory about this question?
  • What is your own reaction to or opinion of the cartoon and why?

Once your students have had the chance to answer these questions about all of the different political cartoons, bring them together to discuss their answers and also address the following questions:

  • What are some of the similarities and differences you noticed between the different cartoons?
  • How has the genre of the political cartoon evolved or remained the same over time?

Different Perspectives

In this kind of gallery walk, students will get a chance to think about different points of view on the same issue. This activity is great for if students are focused on a particular current event or personage.

Choose five to seven different political cartoons that deal with the same issue, such as a particular political figure, health care, education, or military action. Post them in different places around the room. Under each cartoon, post the following questions:

  • How would you describe this political cartoon and what is happening in it?
  • What is the cartoonist's perspective on the issue he or she takes on, and how do you know?
  • What is your own opinion of or reaction to this cartoon, and why?

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