Friday, May 13, 2016

Using Comics In Math Class

Bunny, Hare, Rabbit, Gray, Grey, Cartoon  I have quite a few students who love reading comics.  I know I have several students who would rather draw than do the work and so I've found a couple ways to use comic strips in the class in  way that should engage the artists and have them do the work.

Resourceaholic has a great way to use comics in class.  The author got the idea from another blog and I'm highlighting it here.  The first way is to create a comic strip showing the process used to answer a question such as finding the solution to a system of equations by graphing.  So a student chooses one of three problems to do and then creates the comic strip explaining how they solved it.  The assignment can be used either in class or as a homework assignment.

Flummery has information on comic strips, drawing them and using them in various content areas including several templates.  The suggested math activity has students selecting a math element as the main character and creating a 3 frame strip. As I read the activity, I pictured having a plus sign as the main character who talks about combining numbers to make a bigger number.  So many possibilities.  It also contains an evaluation rubric and a worksheet to compare drawing styles between comics. 

Although the next two are actual studies they each have activities in them that would be easily applied to the classroom.  The first one from Australia suggests having students select two algebraic expressions and create comic strips for them.  The study has examples so you get an idea of what should be done.

I'm not sure if this is a study but it explains the process one person went through to create an actual math comic book.  I like that it shows how this author used a super hero with two students to create the lesson while having the elements of a comic book. 

Now comes the part about creating the comics.  Do you have students use an app or program to create the final product or do you have students create on paper.  I think  it depends on the student.  For those of us who do not really draw, the app or program allows us to create without getting lost in the act of drawing.  For students who enjoy drawing and are always doodling, even during the lecture, it may be best to let them physically create the comic.   There is always the possibility of letting students draw the frame, snap a picture of it and then insert it into the app. 

I've made a few comic strips and I plan to make more over the summer so I can put them up on google drive.  I want to have several examples ready for students so they know what I want.  Does anyone have suggestions they can contribute to this?  Please let me know your experiences.