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Introduction to satire

In this lesson on using satire responsibly (and possibly with humor), students will learn elements of satire. They will discuss both how satire can be useful and how it can cause problems if not handled carefully. They also will read examples of satire.


  • Students will learn the elements of satire.
  • Students will learn about ethical concerns that can accompany satire.

Common Core State Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term or terms over the course of a text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.5 Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.


50 minutes


Slideshow: Elements of satire

Examples of Satire

Handout: Satire brainstorm

Lesson step-by-step

1. Building background — 10 minutes

Ask students to give examples of satire they like, such as TV shows or websites that mimic things in order to poke fun at them. You may want to remind them of class rules beforehand. Ask them what makes their favorite kinds of satire funny.

Explain that it takes a lot of work to make something funny (on purpose). Use the slideshow for direct instruction about satire. Discuss the elements of satire and ways to avoid problems with satire.

2. Looking at examples — 20 minutes

Distribute examples of satire to students. Have them identify the aspects of satire: exaggeration, incongruity, reversal and parody. As students finish, ask them to share what they labeled and what they thought of the satires they read.

3. Brainstorming examples — 20 minutes

Distribute the satire brainstorm handout. Ask students to think of a situation in their lives that is already a little ridiculous (school suspends kids for skipping) and brainstorm ways they could use elements of satire to make a satirical story about the topic. After 10-15 minutes, have students share their ideas with a partner.