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Inquiry Process and Context

This project came about through my time spent working with fifth graders facilitating a Media and Social Change studies curriculum. We wanted to have a unit that analyzed and played with memes, so we brought this game into the classroom. We used it as a tool to scaffold the creation of their own memes about their experiences at school. The memes they made afterwards were so awesome. Beyond humor and wit, I wanted to include them in this final project to highlight the political and cultural significance of these memes as documentation of student perceptions, noticings, and feelings toward schooling at a public school in Washington Heights in 2022. 

Grounding pedagogical questions:

What happens when you bring an artifact of play into the classroom?

How does this shift the power dynamics and reveal cultures through humor, rule negotiation, and truth telling?


Beyond the empirical research with my students, I did a deep dive about the creation of the game itself looking for ‘tells’ about the game's conception of childhood. Through this process I learned about some shortcomings What Do You Meme potentially failed to include in comparison to my students' demonstrations of meme content. This helped me understand the phenomena of memes as an educational tool. 


  • I started by researching on the history of the game, comparing it with Apples to Apples and its ‘adultified’ iteration, Cards Against Humanity. I also looked into the creator of the game, FuckJerry, who runs a highly successful meme account:

  • I reviewed the aesthetics of the packaging, box, meme cards, and especially the language around the rules of the game. 

  • I did a short data analysis of the imagery used on the meme cards themselves, taking note of any and all appearances of children, adults, animals, and animated graphics. 

  • I then did the same data analysis of my students' memes in order to compare the occurrences of different actors in the work. 

After this, I felt I had enough information to start making my own claims about the game as a reflective artifact of our digital age. I believe the game is a rich pedagogical tool that gives students opportunities to engage with the bidirectionality of text and image and to interact with a wide rage of actors usually not presented in more directed youth media –– ie: making and interacting with images of all difference ages, races, and genders, in addition to typically seen animals, children, and animated graphics. 

To demonstrate my findings and present some of my students' memes, I created Canva slides and narrated recorded audio outlining my ideas! It was truly energizing to make.

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