Cartoon Analysis – Lobbying

Educator Toolkit: Peoples Guide to the Federal Budget

Activity Type: Group
Chapter: 4
Objective: Students will utilize a primary source – a political cartoon – to analyze and to categorize political messages and meanings.

  1. Break students into groups or pairs.
  2. Provide each group/pair with a copy of the political cartoon on lobbying found in Chapter 4 of A People’s Guide to the Federal Budget, or project the cartoon in the front of the class.
  3. After reading the chapter and distributing cartoon to groups:
    • Students will describe to each other what is happening in the cartoon.
    • Students will list words and phrases that they do not understand and, using dictionaries or computers, look up words.
    • Students will categorize the lobby statements. (Note: students should come up with their own categories through discussion within their group.) 
  4. Groups will share their categorized statements with the class.
  5. Groups will answer the following questions: 
    • What is the message of this political cartoon?
    • Does your group believe the author has a specific political message? If so, what is it?
    • Why is lobbying an important part of democracy?
    • Why could it be problematic? Students should give as many specific examples as possible.
  6. Extension Activity: Upon completion of group cartoon analysis and discussion, students may individually respond to the following questions in a one-page paper:
    • Why is lobbying an integral component of our democracy?
    • When, or why specifically, if at all, can it be problematic?

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