Satire Activities & Games

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Explaining satire to students may seem difficult, but if you incorporate games and activities, the process becomes much easier. This lesson outlines satire-based activities and games teachers can use in the classroom.

Setting Up Satire

Perhaps the best way to explain satire to your students is to provide them with a mix of examples. Depending on student age and maturity level, you may be able to share an episode or clip from a satirical TV show or late night monologue. You can also provide them with literary examples of satire.

If you're unable to provide students with video or audio clips of satire examples, political cartoons are another great resource. Before diving into the activities and games, it's important for students to understand that people interpret satire differently and find different levels of humor in satirical resources.

You may want your first activity to involve students identifying different satirical works or even bringing in satire examples to share with the class. Ultimately, satire is often intended to point out hypocrisies, inconsistencies, or other political and societal flaws. With this in mind, encourage your students to use satire that is both informative and appropriate.

This Just In

  1. Divide the class into small groups of students. Try to ensure that each group includes some students who are strong writers and other students who are strong presenters.
  2. Instruct each group to choose one significant current event or news story.
  3. Give the groups some time to research their chosen story.
  4. After the research stage is complete, each group should write a script for a satirical newscast based on their topic. Make sure to provide students with a minimum time requirement, such as five minutes, for their newscast.
  5. If possible, each group should have two presenters who will deliver the newscast to the rest of the class. You can also request each group to use at least one visual aid as part of their presentation.

Additionally, record the newscasts for students to review and discuss after every group has presented.

Satirize the Story

This activity works best if all students in your class are reading the same work of literature. Both fiction and non-fiction texts should be appropriate. Once you've selected a suitable text, you have two options.

  1. Have all students rewrite the same short section of the text in a satirical manner.
  2. Have each student rewrite short, sequential sections in a satirical manner.

If you opt for the first choice, you'll be able to compare how each student satirically interprets the same source material. Alternatively, if you choose the sequential option, you'll be able to analyze and assess how the source material develops through the different satirical language and ideas your students choose to employ.

The main educational thrust of this activity lies in being able to compare multiple satirical interpretations and voices, so be sure to follow-up the writing portion of the activity with significant class and small group discussions that include why and how students made specific language choice to turn the content from straightforward to satirical.

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