Credit Cards: Analyzing Pros and Cons through Cartoons

Educator utilizes cartoons to support student analysis of the pros and cons of credit cards.
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About this Micro-credential

Apply for a micro-credential before December 22nd, 2017 for a $75 Amazon gift card!*

*Offer valid until 12/22/2017. To receive a gift card, participant must complete all portions of the micro-credential application including the optional survey. Gift cards will be awarded in the form of Amazon eGift Cards emailed to the account specified by the participant. Each participant can receive maximum one gift card. GFLEC reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

Key Method

The educator encourages students to think critically and weigh the pros and cons of credit cards by utilizing cartoon analysis.

Method Components

What are the steps of a cartoon analysis activity?

Cartoons can be used in the classroom to introduce new topics, generate discussion, involve students in critical thinking, provide multiple points of view, and reinforce concepts. While cartoons may be used in various ways during instruction, proper cartoon analysis should include the following steps:

  1. Identify and list objects and characters in the cartoon.
  2. Identify the techniques and symbolism used in the cartoon (see “It’s No Laughing Matter” in the resources section).
  3. Explain the message of the cartoon.
  4. Identify potential bias and discuss who would agree/disagree with the message.

Suggested Implementation

  1. Provide students with background information about the purposes of credit cards and the calculation of compound interest (See the “Calculating Compound Interest: I Do, We Do, You Do” micro-credential).
  2. Choose at least four different cartoons in the public domain (or secure the rights to utilize others) that show a mix of different pros and cons of credit card usage (See resources below).
  3. Decide upon a cartoon analysis worksheet, such as the National Archives Cartoon Analysis Document, or adapt one to suit the needs of your classroom.
  4. Use a strategy to activate the students’ prior knowledge about the pros and cons of credit card usage, drawing on events they may have witnessed or from prior lessons
  5. Provide students with a written or online text that identifies and explains the main pros and cons (See resources below). Briefly discuss.
  6. Break students into small groups or pairs to begin their analysis with the aid of the document analysis worksheet.
  7. End the lesson with a review of each cartoon and discussion of the answers to the worksheet.
  8. If appropriate, provide one additional cartoon for homework as a review, or have students draw their own cartoon that demonstrates either a pro or a con.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Research shows that cartoons can increase student interest and engagement, collaboration, students’ understanding, and transfer of learning (Van Wyk, 2011; Zhang, 2012). Utilizing cartoons may aid those who are English language learners or who are dyslexic (Velez Gea, 2013; Zhang, 2012). Cartoons are also an excellent resource when discussing multiple points of view (Upson and Hall, 2013; Gallavan, 2012).

With students increasingly using the Internet, teachers of financial literacy can utilize these familiar platforms to engage students.

  • Van Wyk, Michael M. “The Use of Cartoons as a Teaching Tool to Enhance Student Learning in Economics Education.” Journal of Social Science 26.2 (2011): 117-30. Web. 20 Oct. 2015.
  • Upson, Matt and Hall, C. Michael (2013). “Comic Book Guy in the Classroom: The Educational Power and Potential of Graphic Storytelling in Library Instruction,” Kansas Library Association College and University Libraries Section Proceedings: Vol. 3: No. 1.
  • Velez Gea, Natalia Lucia. “Learning and Teaching of English in a Foreign Language Classroom of Primary Education through Current Songs and Cartoons.” Universidad de Almeria. N.p., 23 Oct. 2013. Web.
  • Gallavan, Nancy P., Angela Webster-Smith, and Sheila S. Dean. “Connecting Content, Context, And Communication In A Sixth-Grade Social Studies Class Through Political Cartoons.” Social Studies 103.5 (2012): 188-191. Teacher Reference Center. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.


Pros and Cons of Credit Cards

Cartoon Analysis

  • Lynn Stone, Victoria Mayers, and Beth O’Connor. “Analyzing the Purpose and Meaning of Political Cartoons.” ReadWriteThink. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.

Credit Card Cartoon Examples

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1,3, and 4, and a “Yes” for the artifacts submitted for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(300-word limit for each):

  • How did you choose appropriate materials for this lesson on credit cards? Provide a copy of each of the cartoons with an explanation for why you chose each, as well as the document analysis worksheet.

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

Submit two completed cartoon analysis worksheets from two students (four document analysis sheets total) that demonstrate how the cartoons were used to learn about pros and cons of credit cards.

Also submit the cartoons that were chosen for the document analysis activity.

Part 3. Student Reflection

Provide two written reflections from students who participated in the activity used for submission of Part 2. Use the following question as guidance (200-word limit for each answer):

  • How did the activity you completed in class help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of credit cards?

Part 4. Teacher Reflection

Provide a reflection on what you learned, using the following questions as guidance (300-word limit):

  • How did this technique help you communicate this personal finance content to your students?

Part 5. Survey (Optional)

Please answer a brief survey about your experience teaching personal finance. Your responses will:

  • help us understand barriers personal finance teachers face;
  • and help us improve the resources being offered to personal finance educators

We appreciate your help.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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