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Energy Crisis

Ohio Content Standards:

  • Grade 9 Social Studies Skills and Methods 1, 2, & 3
  • Grade 10 History 2 b & c, Geography 2, Economics 1 & 3, Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities 1e & f, Social Studies Skills and Methods 1
  • Grade 12 Economics 3, 5a, 6 & 7, Government 1 & 2, Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities 3, 7, & 8

Duration of Lesson: 2 Class Periods/ 50 Minutes each, one block

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will collaboratively analyze and compare editorial cartoons focusing on the Energy Crisis of the 1970s and early 80s.
  • Students will compare and contrast the Energy Crisis of the 1970s and early 80s with the current oil situation.
  • Students will identify the cartoonists' intentions and evaluate the effectiveness of the message of each cartoon.

Summary: Students will be asked to analyze and evaluate editorial cartoons regarding the Energy Crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s. Students are expected to determine tools the cartoonists use to express his or her opinion. Students will compare and contrast the Energy Crisis with the energy problems of today (2007).


  • Editorial cartoons 1-6 with publishing information and accompanying transparencies (for teacher)
  • Cartoon Analysis Worksheet and accompanying transparencies (one for each cartoon)
  • Media Lab

Pre-Assessment: Teachers should use this question to facilitate a class discussion.

  1. How has the US dependence on foreign oil affected you and your family?
  2. How has it affected the United States in general?

Instructional Steps:

  1. Complete pre-assessment class discussion.
  2. Display cartoons 1-6; choose 2 for class analysis.
  3. Display cartoon analysis worksheet on smart board or LCD projector and have class fill in questions together. Students will use completed handout as example for the post-assessment.

Post-Assessment: Students will choose from the remaining cartoons of the energy crisis era and compare that cartoon with a modern day energy editorial cartoon using the Cartoon Analysis Worksheet for the modern day cartoon. Some criteria may include caricaturization, labeling, irony, and analogy.

The following websites are recommended:

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists – editorialcartoonists.com
Daryl Cagle – http://cagle.msnbc.com/
Cartoons for the Classroom – http://nieonline.com/aaec/cftc.cfm
A Syndicate of Talent - http://www.creators.com/editorialcartoons.html

Extension Activities:
When students turn in the Post-Assessment the class will discuss the differences and similarities in caricatures and other tools that the artists use in both the past and present cartoons.

"Hey, man...like I don't care what it's costing...I need it."

"Gulp, Shill, Exxtort, Pilfer 66"

"World's Spigot"

"Painted Into a Corner"

"Tune in Next Decade for the Exciting Conclusion"

"You May Force Us to Do Something About This!"