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Lesson Plan:

For Teachers: A Spy-Story Comic Book

Type: Assignment
Subjects: Social Studies, Visual Arts, Media Studies
Grades: Grades 6-8
Duration: 1 to 2 lessons
Purpose: To use appropriate media forms to create a message
Summary: Students create a comic book to document the moral themes of Dr. Gerald Bull’s life.

Before Exploring

Ask students if they know of any politically initiated assassinations. Make a list of these and the reasons behind the assassinations. Ask: Do governments have the right to do this? Then ask if an individual has the right to help create weapons that could destabilize regions.

Remember that the discussion is open-ended and that you are not seeking a conclusion.

Provide a variety of comic books for students to examine or have them describe the stories they know from comic books. As a group, identify some features of comic books, including the fact that they base their stories around a moral theme and that they often explore the theme of good versus evil.

Outline the Opportunity

Tell students that they will create a spy story in comic book form to explore the life of Dr. Gerald Bull. They should select a moral theme to explore within the framework of the overall plot.

Have students browse the clips titled "A supersonic scientist", "Bull's company raided", "Fined and off to jail", "Who killed Gerald Bull?" "Customs officials discover supergun parts", and "Murdered by the Mossad?" on the topic Dr. Gerald Bull: Scientist, Weapons Maker, Dreamer on the CBC Digital Archives website.

They should gather facts and characters for their story, and then create a general outline and layout that they submit to you for approval. Look for a complete storyline that will accommodate a comic book approach as well as appropriate amounts of information on a page. Students use their approved outlines to create their final product.

Revisit and Reflect

Display the comics around the class. Have other classes come in and read the stories. Have students reading the comics fill out the evaluation on the download sheet A Spy-Story Comic Book. Evaluations are returned to the author.


Students can make revisions based on the peer critiques and then hand in their final version for evaluation.

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