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Lesson Outline: NH History Comics

GoodyCole2Description: Students choose and research a local historical figure, then present a biography in comics format.

Context:  This comics project provides a written and visual component to an ongoing series of local history units.  Students also research local and state history, construct a class timeline of events from history of their families and communities, map local geographical features, and conduct oral history research at local sites. 

Grade Level: Grades 3-8

Objectives: Each student will:

  • learn about a local historical figure, placing that figure in historical and social contexts.
  • tell the story of that person’s life in a mini-comic format.
  • learn about other historical figures, through reading the mini-comics of other students.

Research Sources:

Basic Procedure:

  1. Each student chooses a historical figure.  (The teacher can provide a list of historical figures, or class can generate list from previous assignments.)
  2. Students also choose partners or support groups.
    (Working in groups allows students to develop specialties, give focused feedback, and check each other’s work.  There should be some connection between the various topics in the group — e.g., stories from a particular region or time period)
  3. Students research their topics, taking notes in teacher-provided format.
  4. Students categorize and prioritize notes.
    (Guiding questions: “How will you organize your story? What are the most important scenes/details?  How does this story connect with other stories in your group?”)
  5. Students plan their projects.
    (“Thumbnail” each page, or outline the story you will tell.)
    (Guiding questions: “What point of view will you take in drawing your story?  Is your historical figure the main character of your story, or is it another character?”)
  6. Pencil, ink, and erase all pages.
    (Teacher may require projects include a historical map, an author’s note, a timeline of other important events, etc.)
  7. Students publish comics in mini-comic format.
    (This can take many forms:

    • bulletin board of comics
    • gallery display
    • reading session with other classrooms
    • photocopied “mini-comics”
    • class web gallery

    … or something entirely different!)


NH State Frameworks: Social Studies: PART 2  Essential Skills for Social Studies Assessment method or prompt:
Differentiating past, present and future and change over time
  • What details did you include to set your story in its historical era?
  • What details are different from (location) today? How are they different?
  • What changes does your project show over time to: landscape, people, technology, society?
  • How does your main character change in the course of the story? (Besides just getting older! How did you show growth or change?)
Evaluating and critiquing varied sources of information and the use of appropriate primary and secondary sources and technology to acquire information
  • How did you find your information?
  • Who wrote/posted/provided the information?
  • Cite your sources in a given format.
  • Include a bibliography.
Expressing clearly and concisely personal opinion supported by evidence
  • Explain one way you agree with what your character did. Why do you agree? (Use details from your story.)
  • Explain one way you disagree with what your character did. Why do you disagree? (Use details from your story.)
Solving Individual and group problems
  • What historical group(s) did your character belong to?  (discuss “groups”: ethnic, economic, racial, religious, etc.)
  • What groups did your character encounter in the story?
  • What was a problem confronting these groups?
  • What is a problem your character had to solve?  What other characters or groups were involved in the problem?
  • How did they solve the problem?

Student Artwork Samples:


2 Comments on “Lesson Outline: NH History Comics”

  1. […] Emma created this mini-comic as part of her 3rd-4th grade classroom’s New Hampshire history research: […]

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