Comics and Cartoons of a Civil Society (10th Grade)

9, 10, 11, 12

Learners gain awareness of the attributes of justice, kindness, peace and tolerance in a civil society as they search for examples in political cartoons and newspaper comic strips. They create cartoons illustrating an aspect of civil society, and write a paragraph of explanation about their cartoon.


PrintOne 55 minute class period

The learner will:

  • identify examples of justice/injustice, kindness/unkindness, peace/violence and tolerance/intolerance in comics and cartoons.
  • create cartoons to illustrate an aspect of a civil society.
  • write a paragraph explaining the symbolism in the cartoon he/she creates.
  • Daily newspapers – comics and cartoons or Internet cites for cartoons (See Bibliographical References)
  • Scissors
  • Chart paper
  • Tape
  • Colored markers
  • Handout One: The Vocabulary of a Civil Society

 Write about how it felt for others to read and respond to your cartoon.


Teacher Note: The following resources are for political cartoons and comics.  Be sure to preview the sites to make sure there are no inappropriate pop-ups.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Review the definitions of (in)justice, violence and intolerance and freedom of speech.

    Explain that a civil society in part depends on people recognizing calling attention to injustice and working to find justice for all. Explain that a civil society and the advancement of the common good are possible when people try to find common ground through discourse and compromise.

  2. Read the First Amendment of the Constitution and discuss the role of freedom of speech in the civil society.

  3. Tell the students that they will be searching political cartoon and comics for examples of the presence or absence of these attributes.

  4. Organize the class into groups of two (pair-share).

  5. Some of the groups will examine political cartoons, some of the groups will examine comics, depending on the materials available. Distribute newspapers or the list of Internet sites.

  6. Each group searches for at one example of justice/ injustice, kindness/unkindness, peace/ violence, tolerance/intolerance.

  7. Next, ask each pair to join another pair forming teams of four (pair-share-square) to synthesize their ideas.

  8. A representative from each “square” explains their findings to the whole class.

  9. Post their comics and cartoons around the room for the class to look at.

  10. In the teams of four, have the students develop the concept for a cartoon that illustrates an aspect of civil society that may include justice, kindness, peace or tolerance.They should sketch the illustration and together compose a paragraph explaining its symbolism. These class-made cartoons and explanations should be added to the wall display.

Cross Curriculum 

Students share their cartoons that communicate messages of justice and peace with a wide audience.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Discuss and give examples of why some humans will sacrifice for the benefit of unknown others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark HS.2 Give examples from history of how intolerance of ideas, religion, and minorities contributed to social disintegration.
  2. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark HS.4 Cite historical examples of citizen actions that affected the common good.
  3. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark HS.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.