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Monday Morning Ready05.11.2015
Jumpstart Your Week!

Late last spring, a student worked late into the night and as she doodled, her chemistry thesis took on a life of hits own, transforming into a comic book. Veronica Berns, 28, was working on her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and said she long struggled to explain her work to her parents and friends... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Do you read comic books? Would you read a comic book about chemistry? Why or why not?

Grade 5-6

What do you think would be the biggest challenge if you were writing a comic book about a difficult topic? How could you overcome that challenge?

Grade 7-8

Imagine that all textbooks were written as comic books. What would be the advantages of doing this? What disadvantages can you see?

Grade 9-10

Why do you think it's difficult for scientists to explain what they do with proper context? Why do you think presenting complex concepts in an artistic way makes them easier for people to understand?

LESSON PLAN
Create a Webcomic

PROCESS:

  1. Prior to conducting this activity, download and review how to use the Comic Creator.
  2. Display the National Museum of Natural History’s webcomic “The Secret in the Cellar” for the class. Invite students to comment on what they see. Challenge them to explain how this webcomic is like a book.
  3. Guide the class to recognize that comics, like books, have a narrator, characters, dialogue, and descriptions. Comics also follow an organized plot that includes a sequence of events and comes to a logical conclusion. These are the basic elements of a narrative text. However, the comic format allows a writer to present information in a fun, visual way.
  4. Review with students how to incorporate text, layout and design and angles into a comic strip. Challenge students to find examples of various elements in “The Secret in the Cellar.” Then discuss how animation allows these elements to be used differently in a webcomic than in a traditional comic book or comic strip.
  5. Display the Comic Creator for the class. Explain how to use it. Then instruct students to create a webcomic based on something they’ve learned during the current school year.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their webcomics with the class. Evaluate each to identify how students incorporated narrative elements and the parts of a comic—text, layout and design and angles—into the finished product. As a class, discuss how each webcomic helps explain the selected topic.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3–4:
Divide the class into small groups. Encourage group members to brainstorm ideas to select one topic for a webcomic. Give groups time to plan and complete a six-panel webcomic using the Comic Creator. Provide suggestions or assistance as needed.

Grades 5–6:
Review with the class how to write a script for a webcomic and share an example. Then divide the class into small groups. Encourage group members to brainstorm ideas to identify one topic for their webcomic. Instruct them to write a script based upon what they learned about the topic during the year. Using that script as a guide, challenge each group to create a six-panel webcomic using the Comic Creator.

Grades 7–8:
Review with the class how to write a script for a webcomic and share an example. Then divide the class into pairs. Tell partners to select a topic for their webcomics. Recommend that they choose a topic that they found to be challenging or hard to understand during the year. Then give students time to write a script. If any pairs are struggling to explain their topic in simple terms, suggest that they conduct research or review their notes to learn more. Once scripts are final, challenge each pair to create a six-panel webcomic using the Comic Creator.

Grades 9–10:
Review with the class how to write a script for a webcomic and share an example. Instruct students to select a topic that they found to be challenging or hard to understand during the year. Then give students time to create a detailed plan for their webcomics and write a script. If any students are struggling to explain a topic in simple terms, suggest that they conduct research or review their notes to learn more. Once scripts are final, challenge each student to create a detailed six-panel webcomic using the Comic Creator.

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