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Lesson Plan

Gaining Background for the Graphic Novel Persepolis: A WebQuest on Iran

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Gaining Background for the Graphic Novel Persepolis: A WebQuest on Iran

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Eight 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Susan Spangler

Susan Spangler

Fredonia, New York


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



The graphic novel Persepolis is set in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Most students are unaware of the changes associated with the events during that time, but the repercussions of the revolution are still being felt throughout the world. Students in the United States therefore need to gain background information on Iran in order to appreciate more fully the experiences of Marjane, the main character of Persepolis. In this lesson, students work in small groups to research a specific topic related to Iran, using a WebQuest to focus their research on relevant and reliable information. After the research is complete, students present their information to the class through a technology-enhanced presentation.

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Iran WebQuest Links: This collection of links provides students a starting point for their research into the culture, society, and leadership of Iran before and after the 1979 Revolution.

Creating a PowerPoint Slide: This handout gives step-by-step instructions for creating a slide in Microsoft PowerPoint.

ReadWriteThink Webbing Tool
: This online tool provides a free-form graphic organizer for activities that ask students to pursue hypertextual thinking and writing.

Bio-Cube: This online tool allows students to list key elements about a person whose biography or autobiography they have just read. It can also be used as a prewriting activity for student autobiographies.

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Persepolis is a novel about a young Iranian girl during the Islamic revolution. In order for students to understand the implications of plot events, they need to be familiar with the culture, society, history, and politics of Iran around the time of the Iranian revolution. The WebQuest included in this lesson gives students a chance to research one aspect of Iranian culture or history, and student-created PowerPoint presentations allow all students to gain knowledge of several different aspects. Because a teacher has designed the WebQuest, it is focused on essential information that will be relevant to the students' reading, and students can trust that the information on the Websites is reliable.

For Further Reading

Firek, Hilve. Ten Easy Ways to Use Technology in the English Classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman, 2003.


Harris, Marla. 2007.  "Showing and Telling History through Family Stories in Persepolis and Young Adult Novels." Building Literacy Connections with Graphic Novels: Page by Page, Panel by Panel. Ed. James Bucky Carter. 38-53. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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