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WHAT DO YOU MEME? Classroom Activity on Meaning-Making Through Memes
A shiba inu cartoon dog on a coin
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symbolic interactionism

How to Cite

Gorga, Allison. 2023. “WHAT DO YOU MEME? Classroom Activity on Meaning-Making Through Memes”. TRAILS: Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology, September. Washington DC: American Sociological Association.


This activity introduces students to symbolic interactionism by playing the game, What do You Meme? After a lecture on symbolic interactionism, students take turns judging meme and caption card pairings made by their classmates. While playing, students are asked to consider how meme use is a sign of social competence and meaning-making.

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Subject Area(s):
Introduction to Sociology/Social Problems, Theory
Resource Type(s):
Class Activity
Class Level(s):
College 100, High School
Class Size(s):
Medium, Small

Usage Notes

Learning Goals and Assessments

Learning Goal(s):

  1. Students will be able to describe symbolic interactionism in their own words
  2. Students will identify a variety of “symbols” and will be able to articulate how humans attach social meaning to these symbols
  3. Students will examine and evaluate how we use these symbols to communicate with one another or make sense of daily social life
  4. Students will articulate how people often consider the reaction and expectations of the audience before acting in a social environment.

Goal Assessment(s):

  1. Learning Goal 1: Exam and written response assignments will ask students to define symbolic interactionism and identify examples of how people make meaning through the use of symbols in everyday life.
  2. Learning Goal 2: When presenting their winning pairs, students are asked to identify the “symbols” within each image that communicate ideas and feelings.
  3. Learning Goals 3 and 4: When describing the winning pairs, students will identify how symbols may take on different meaning in different social contexts

When using resources from TRAILS, please include a clear and legible citation.

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