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Curriculum Resources

Creative Content through Comics

Grades

4-8

Subjects

Social Studies

Concepts

French and Indian War, history and development of comic strips

Skills

Creativity, using images to retell an historical event

Materials

Internet access

Time

1-2 class periods


Focus Questions

  • How do images tell a complex story?
  • How can students learn the story of the French and Indian War in an alternative way?

Students will be able to:

  • Describe the parts of the comic strip and apply that knowledge to create their own.
  • Think creatively and express their ideas about the key people, events and places that shaped pre-Revolutionary America.
  • Retell the story of the French and Indian War through this alternative format of comic strip images.

Introductory Activity

1. Tell students they are going to learn about history in a very different way today – by reading the comics! Initiate a discussion about the purpose and use of comic strips. Ask:

  • Has anyone has ever read the comics?
  • Where do you find them? [newspapers, comic books]
  • What are they about most often?
  • Does anyone know when comic strips were first invented? [*]
  • Why do people/students read them?

2. Explain that the class is going to use the idea of the comic strip to explain history in a fun and different way. Describe how historical political cartoons and comic strips are ways that historians have learned about the past.

Cartoons by Bentley Boyd (www.chestercomix.com - Monday, November 12, 2001)

3. Navigate students through the comic strip entitled “How did the French and Indian War Begin?” Point out the use of “word bubbles” and characters to portray events. Show how the panels are separated by white space (“gutters”) which allows the author to change scenes or move ahead in time. Review any content and vocabulary that students may be unfamiliar with. Finally, predict what may happen in the next cartoon. Ask: what hint does Chester Crab provide?

4. Allow students to click on the links embedded in the strip.

  • The first link directs the student to the official White House site and provides a full biography on George Washington.
  • The second link sends the student to a National Park Service website on Fort Necessity. To further increase your students’ interest and connection to this time period, you could add a link to NH’s own French and Indian War Era fort called The Fort at No. 4 in Charlestown, NH.
  • The third link is supposed to help students understand the geography of the Appalachian region. As an extension activity, the teacher could expand the lesson to include instruction of the geography of colonial America.

Instructional Procedure

1. Once students have read and enjoyed Chester the Crab, talk about the start of the French and Indian War and that it is their turn to become authors. Tell students that the goal is to have them, individually or in pairs, finish the story and provide a more complete “picture” of the event.

2. Provide a list of content ideas for them to focus on. Students then need to research that aspect of the French and Indian War. For example, they may choose a specific event to write about or they may focus on an individual; they may use their text book or supplementary sources to gain information. Students need to create all the parts of the strip in order to be effective. See Rubric.

3. Try to ensure that students cover the key events, people and geographic locations of the French and Indian War. Have students complete a prewriting activity. Here, they plan for the characters, scenes and actions they want in their comic strip. Also, they decide the content of the strip by determining what the captions will be about. The teacher may have students choose which part of the time period they want to focus on or the teacher may guide students’ decisions.

4. Ask students to create a comic strip on one page of paper.

5. When the cartoons are complete, have each student present the ideas and characters of his/her comic strip to the class. Have them explain their research and how they presented it in a creative and humorous way. The teacher may ask the class to take notes as each student presents the information.

6. End the lesson with a discussion by having students predict, what do they think happens as a result of the French and Indian War? Students may hypothesize; Britain may raise taxes immediately to pay for cost of war, increase conflict with the colonists…American Revolution.

Assessment

Cartoon panel on an event, person or aspect of the French and Indian War See Comic Assessment Guide - PDF.

A quiz or test may be created out of the content of each student’s cartoon and given to the whole class.

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