1. Divide the class into two groups. Ask one group to discuss the contemporary cartoons and agree on a one-sentence explanation of each cartoon. Ask the second group to do the same for the historical cartoons. Stress that political cartoons are not like the comics. They are about social and political issues, and they express strongly held viewpoints about those issues. Emphasize that it is impossible to fully understand most political cartoons without some background knowledge of the issues they deal with. This is a preparatory exercise, so don't apply too strict a standard to judging what students come up with. The goal is to have them make initial interpretations on their own to see what that entails.