Political cartoons and freedom of speech

Title separator
  • Global Issues
political cartoon lesson plan


We love political cartoons! They’re fun, thought-provoking and often contain witty captions. And we love cartoons by Patrick Chappatte. That’s why we decided to finally create a political cartoon lesson plan on the basis of one of his TED Talks. His speech is really awesome and the author explains the idea behind political cartooning as well as draws our attention to controversies and major questions asked in terms of political cartoons.

B2 / Upper Intermediate
C1 / Advanced
60 minFlipped LessonPrintable & Digital$12 Plan

This is a Flipped Classroom lesson plan. In a nutshell, it means that first part of the lesson needs to be done by students at home. Learn more about flipped classroom and how we implement it in those lesson plans in our post.


The activities from this political cartoon lesson plan that students have to do at home involve both vocabulary and grammar points. First, students have to complete a few sentences with words given. These sentences come from the video and introduce students to some vocab that might be useful to know before watching the speech. To check their answers, students must watch the video. Next, they move to a grammar point. It touches on what-clauses (or pseudo-cleft sentences). Students need to study a short table with examples of the use of these clauses to emphasize the ideas we want to express. After examining the table, students should do one exercise, that is rewrite sentences using what-clauses. Why do we introduce them here? Because we want students to get familiar with them, and then use them when discussing some cartoons in the classroom.


As it is a political cartoon lesson plan, the in-class activities start with an exercise on vocabulary. It is a word formation task which also check students’ knowledge of vocabulary connected with the topic (and in most cases coming from the video they watched at home). Students get a table and they need to complete it with correct parts of speech. The sets of words include: cartoonist, caricaturist, criticize, propagandize, provocative, censorship, etc. Next, there is an extensive discussion about political cartooning, satire and freedom of speech. Finally, the last task is the most advanced one as students need to use their critical thinking skills to analyze, understand and discuss some political cartoons. While we curated a list of political cartoons that can be used in the lesson (see Teacher’s Version), we encourage you to create your own set that will best fit your students. Browse such websites as:

We’ve chosen (and provided links) to some cartoons that we like and think can be nice to analyze (see Teacher’s Version). To help your students approach the task, we provided questions that they should answer when describing cartoons as well as some useful expressions to help them formulate their opinions and ideas.



Title separator

Leave a Reply

  1. Great lesson, a few problems while I was in class, the TV and the SV don’t match the blanks (the tv doesn’t have red in the blanks that the students have). Also is this correct “I am interested in colours used in this cartoon.
    What interests me is colours used in this cartoon.” Or should it be, What interests me ARE colours used…

    Thanks again for all of your hard work.


    1. David, I’m not sure what you’re referring to in terms of the blanks (check the newest version available – we fixed some small typos). Now the other thing is actually correct as the subject here is “what interests me” and therefore the verb “is” agrees with the subject. Having said that, verbs can agree with plural complement in cleft sentences so you may also say “what interests me are colours..”. See: https://www.thoughtco.com/what-clause-1692605


  2. Hello! Thank you for the topic idea, I like the grammar sections as well.
    In question 1, slight error, in the box for words given, it says ”rules” but it should say ”ruled”.
    Thanks again!


    1. Thanks Clara! I’ve noticed it myself when doing this lesson 🙂 Fixed already!


  3. Good spot! I didn’t notice this one. Maybe it should be ”what interests me are the colours used in this cartoon.”?


  4. Clara, see my reply to David’s comment above for explanation.


Browse other materials recommended for you

Title separator
negative prefixes
B2 / Upper Intermediate Flipped Lesson 60 min

Immediate response (non) required


This lesson plan deals with synchronous and asynchronous communication. Apart from doing listening comprehension tasks, students will build adjectives with negative prefixes and learn some communication idioms.

lesson plan on saving the planet
B1 / Intermediate/ B2 / Upper Intermediate Flipped Lesson 60 min

Plogging ‐ make yourself and the planet better

Global Issues

This lesson plan on saving the planet deals with plogging, i.e. the idea of picking up litter while jogging. The worksheet consists of a few vocab exercises and includes a lot of words used when talking about waste and littering.

business case study worksheet
B2 / Upper Intermediate/ C1 / Advanced Flipped Lesson 60 min

Decision time (business case study)


Thanks to this business case study worksheet, students learn phrasal verbs to talk about companies, watch a video presenting a case study and discuss situations when companies face different problems.

Show more lessons


Title separator

I was your Patron, how can I get access to ESL Brains lessons now?

You have to subscribe again to ESL Brains, but this time using our integrated payment system. Click the Pricing tab in the top menu. You’ll land on the page with our subscription plans. Select the subscription plan you’re interested in, register a new account and pay for your subscription.

What currencies can I pay in for my subscription?

Our default currency is USD (American dollar), but you can also pay in EUR (euro) or GBP (British pound sterling). You can change the currency you want to pay in at the Pricing page before selecting a subscription plan.

How can I edit an e-lesson plan?

You can get your own editable copy of an e-lesson plan and make changes to it. To do so, either (1) make a copy of it on your Google Drive (preferable method) or (2) download it in a Powerpoint format (but formatting might be a bit off so we can’t guarantee that it will work well).

Read more FAQ
Title separator

ESL Brains

Forgot password?
or continue with