Irish Famine - Irish Immigration - Irish Immigrants - Examining Bias in Cartoons

Rated 4.9 out of 5, based on 32 reviews
32 Ratings
Peacefield History
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  • Google Apps™
7 pages, 8 slides
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Peacefield History
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

What educators are saying

These political cartoons are excellent primary sources and helped foster a great discussion with my students. I appreciate the key that was included as well!
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This lesson generally falls on St. Patrick's Day each year and I love having my students learn about their Irish heritage.  While much of St. Patrick's day involves discussing coloring leprechauns and crafting little leprechaun crafts, I strive to make sure my students critically analyze how far their descendants have come.  

This lesson discusses the history surrounding the Irish famine and Irish immigration, and it also shows the racial bias and mistreatment that existed for Irish immigrants in the 1800s.  The students will learn about bias, and then examine cartoons that depicted the Irish unfairly.  This lesson works great for teaching bias because it seems so obvious to students today.  The lesson includes a handout that teaches students to read cartoons for specific kinds of imagery. 

This lesson plan is linked to NYS Social Studies standards, however, I'm sure you could add standards from your state. 

The zip file included a PDF, a PowerPoint version and a link to a Google Drive version if you'd like to make this project more digital.

Within the zip file:

  • 8 slides - 5 to review Historical Background Questions and 3 with each cartoon
  • 1 page lesson plan
  • 2 page History Background that addresses the Irish famine, immigration, and mistreatment in the U.S
  • 1 page handout explaining Bias in Cartoon Imagery
  • 3 Cartoons for students to analyze 
  • 1 exit ticket - This has students find examples of Exaggeration, Symbolism, and Sarcasm in another cartoon
  • 1 page key for cartoons
  • A Google Slides Digital Version

Check out my other lessons from this era:

The Industrial and Market Revolutions

The Irish Famine - Seeing Bias Through Imagery

The Women's Rights Movement and the Seneca Falls Convention

Reform Movements - Temperance, Education, Mental Illness, and Prison Reform

The Era of Reform - Word Wall

The Era of Reform Review and Test Critical Thinking


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You can find more Social Studies resources, links, and discussion at my blog -

Total Pages
7 pages, 8 slides
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
40 minutes
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.


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