Subject: History, Social Studies

Lesson Length: 45 - 60 mins

Topic: Panama Canal Debate

Grade Level: 8

Standards / Framework:

Brief Description: Students will practice their research and debate skills by creating a comic which explains their perspective on a historic event.

Know Before You Start: Students should be familiar with the issues related to the U.S. taking ownership of the Panama Canal.

Hook:

  • Read and discuss the sample comic.

    • What were the benefits of building the Panama Canal?

    • What were the costs? 

    • Why would  building a canal be difficult?

    • Why did Panama oppose the building of the canal? 

  • As students answer, list arguments for and against on the board.

Activity: After reading, discussing & critically thinking about this issue in class, students will create a comic of a minimum of six panels that offers a creative take on the issues of whether the United States should have taken over the Panama Canal zone & built the Panama Canal there. 

  • The time period this comic is to take place in is before the Canal itself was built; prior to 1903, or present time if learning about the discussions currently taking place on the topic.
  • The comic should reflect the student’s opinion as to whether or not the building of the canal was a good idea.
  • Students should include specific details supporting their opinion.

Closure: Have students present their comics to the class or display them on a bulletin board or online.

Differentiation:

  • Students can work independently, in groups, or with a partner.

  • Allow students to use the speech-to-text feature as needed.

  • Provide a printout of the sample comic for student reference.

Resources:

  • Comic to print or display: Comic.

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