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Assessment: Political Cartooning - Three Cases That Define Student Rights

Connecting the dots between court precedent and a contemporary school walkout scenario.

Lesson

Time: 20 Minutes

Lesson Outcome

Students will be able to compare the impact of three landmark Supreme Court cases on students’ free expression at school today.  Students will use civil discourse skills to explore the tensions between students’ interests in free speech and expression on campus and their schools’ interests in maintaining an orderly learning environment.  For the assessment of their comprehension, they will draw a political cartoon to illustrate the application of any of these precedent(s) to the fictional scenario, and they will present their drawing to the class.

Essential Question

To what extent should schools be able to restrict students’ freedom of expression on campus?

Instructions

  1. This assessment builds on the main lesson activity. Students select one of the three cases they learned about and create a political cartoon to answer the essential question.
  2. Students’ political cartoons should:
    1. represent one of the three cases,
    2. illustrate their answer to the essential question, and
    3. make a connection to the fictional walkout scenario.
      For example, a student could choose to illustrate Tinker v. Des Moines and its impact on school walkouts.If students want to convey that they approve of greater restrictions on student rights, they could draw Mary Beth Tinker wearing an armband inside a red circle with a diagonal line across it (as in a Do Not Enter sign) with a caption that reads: “Principal Says:Do Not Re-Enter If You Walk Out.” This example addresses all three components of the assessment.
  3. After students have drawn their political cartoon, they share it with the class.

Political Cartoon Activity

Time: 30 Minutes

Lesson Outcome

To capitalize on different learning styles, this activity allows students to visually synthesize and communicate what they have learned. They demonstrate knowledge of the relevant Supreme Court decisions and the impact of precedent on a contemporary First Amendment issue – school walkouts.

Essential Question

To what extent should schools be able to restrict students’ freedom of expression on campus?

Instructions

Select one of the three cases and create a political cartoon to answer the essential question.

Your political cartoon should:

  1. clearly represent one of the three cases,
  2. illustrate your answer to the essential question, and
  3. make a connection to the fictional walkout scenario.

Cartoon Checklist

1.   Select one of the three cases:

  • Tinker v. Des Moines
  • Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
  • Morse v. Frederick

Decide how you will:

  • Represent the case you selected
  • Communicate your response to the essential question
  • Make a connection to the fictional walkout scenario

Download the activity and use the worksheet on page 26.