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Science Cartoons for Kids: How Cartoons Help Children Learn

Science Cartoons for Kids: How Cartoons Help Children Learn

Science cartoons have the power to improve accessibility, boost engagement, and portray information in a relatable manner. As today’s learners evolve in a world of information overload, teachers need to adapt their teaching strategies to accommodate shorter attention spans, increasing diversity within one classroom, and larger gaps in reading abilities. Across the globe, educators in elementary, middle and home school are adapting their teaching methods to include science cartoons and comics.

Science cartoons have the power to bridge the gap making content obtainable.

Why Are Comic-Style Science Cartoons an Impactful Teaching Resource?

Imagine the look on their faces when, instead of a textbook, you hand your students content in comic form. Jaws will drop and eyes will light up. Students will eagerly engage in the content because the science cartoons will rope them in. Comics are a teacher’s secret weapon.

Relatability

Science cartoons and comics have the power to deliver information in a manner that is relatable to young learners. They speak to students in a understand and identify with. Comics and cartoons explain concepts using characters and events.

When information is presented in a cartoon format, readers can connect with contextual clues and a narrative. The characters convey information through conversations and actions, and the sequential format aids in the process of decoding information. This makes the content more approachable to reluctant readers and students who have dismissed school as “boring.”

Reading a paragraph about the physics behind the rate of an object free-falling is interesting to many, but diving into a science cartoon illustrating characters dropping objects from various heights pulls readers in.

Vivid illustrations and an underlying storyline tap into a reader’s emotions and tie them to the content on a deeper level. Comics create a connection to the content.

Newton's Second Laws of Motion Science Cartoon

Accessibility

Naturally differentiated, science comics and cartoons make the content accessible to a wide range of learning levels and styles. The use of visual illustrations makes it easier for readers of any skill level to gain some degree of understanding.

Many students who struggle with reading find lengthy reading passages intimidating. They see a wall of words and shut down. Science comics have the power to break these paragraphs down into manageable chunks. This makes the information more approachable and less intimidating.

Struggling readers and English language learners (ESL) benefit because they are able to use visual clues to interpret tricky information.

Comics can convey large amounts of information in a short time. This improves accessibility for neurodivergent readers and students who struggle with maintaining attention.

Retention

Science cartoons and comics tap into the power of visual learning. Research reveals that we are able to process visual information far faster than written information. When paired with images, information is processed faster and stored in long-term memory.

When ideas are tied to images, readers direct their attention and understand the information easier and better. This increases retention because it activates multiple facets of the brain.

In addition, the fact that comics are natural attention grabbers triggers a willingness to read. It has even been said that comics make reading fun. They stimulate the imagination and engage readers in a different level of information interpretation.

When a reader is interested in what they are reading, they are more likely to retain the information. “Captivating images, engaging videos, interesting infographics, etc. help learners fight the boredom and motivate them to do better.”

Symbiosis Comic-Style Science Cartoon
How are science cartoons used as a teaching method?

Engagement

Comics improve engagement because they instantly rope readers into the content. This holds for almost any age level. Comics and cartoons, especially when they incorporate vivid colors and balance, are eye-catching and ignite curiosity.

Once a reader’s attention is obtained, they remain engaged. The more obvious reason why they remain engaged is because science cartoons and comics are fun. Children want to see what is going on and what is going to happen.

On top of this, readers remain engaged because there is an ease to reading. The sequential delivery of the information paired with illustrations results in an inevitable flow of information.

Struggling readers to not get hung up on tricky concepts. Instead, they decode the information with the help of the images and continue to move through the reading passage.

Density Tower Activity

Science Comics and Hands-on Learning

In addition to reading passages, science cartoons and comics can improve participation in hands-on activities. Many students resist reading instructions and consequently fail to understand the procedure in labs and projects. Just as reluctant readers shy away from paragraphs, they also tend to avoid instructions.

Presenting instructions in a visual format opens the door to participation and active learning.

Purchase a bookshelf or small piece of furniture, and chances are you will have to assemble it at home. Most of the time, the instructions provided are full of illustrations. This is because instructions are easier to understand when they are paired with pictures. At the same time, the visuals help break down language barriers making it possible for multiple languages to assemble the product.

The same goes for activities in elementary and middle school science classrooms. When experiments and labs are tied to visual instructions accessibility and participation improve. Struggling readers are once again allowed to understand what is going on and keep up with the pace.

Visual instructions improve access to active learning.

Science Cartoons and Comics Build a Foundation

When I was teaching middle school math and science at a charter school for at-risk youth, I consistently encountered students who were missing a foundational understanding of content. I always felt like I needed to back up before moving forward. Comics helped truncate this process.


Illustrating the Basics

Comics can span grade and ability levels. They can quickly bring learners up to speed because the information is presented memorably. Students do not feel the stress of struggling to catch up. They can retain the basic information they missed in previous grades and catch up to peers.

Building the Foundation

Once learners are up to speed, they can readily participate in projects and activities. They are no longer in the dark and flying by the seat of their pants.

Confidence Moving Forward

As readers begin to realize they have this foundational understanding, their confidence in their abilities begins to grow. “Once a child begins to decode text, the comic format enables them to read much more complex stories than is possible with traditional text and illustration.”

Science cartoon and diagram about plant and animal cells
Cells Lesson Plan for 6th-Grade

Explore Comic-Style Science Cartoons

The Cool School Comic library is always growing and continues to evolve into an impactful elementary and middle school teaching resource empowering learners at home and school. Crafted to align with the NGSS Standards, these are more than just comic-style science reading passages. Each teaching resource includes supplementals making it easy for educators to reinforce and assess understanding of science content.

Types of Energy

With an illustration of a go-cart dominating the first part of this science comic, your fourth-grade students will be captivated right from the start. Learners will read about what energy is and examine the different forms of energy. The comic is designed to illustrate the five forms of energy stated in the NGSS standards (4-PS3-2)- sound, light, electrical, thermal, and mechanical (potential and kinetic) energy.
Animal Adaptations Science Cartoon

Animal Adaptations

Join a polar bear on his journey through different climates to discover which climates best suit his adaptations! Students will examine a variety of different animals and discuss how their adaptations help them survive. Complete with doodle notes and a follow-up activity that can double as a mini-research project, and your learners will be fully immersed in the content.

Lemon Batteries

Did you know the citric acid in lemons can react with metals, creating electricity? This electrical energy science comic dives into the commonalities between batteries and lemons. Readers will learn about electrolytes and the vital role they play in the creation of electrical currents from batteries.


Mixtures and Solutions

Illustrate the difference between a mixture and a solutions. Examine this concept using real-life examples that are easy for readers to relate to.

Learn about the difference between a solvent and a solute, and explore different types of chemical changes. Students will also learn about the conservation of mass be prompted to analyze different situations. It can be printed up as either a regular-sized comic or a large poster.

Balloon Powered Car Challenge

Revamp your force and motion unit with this low-prepwallet-friendly STEM activity delivers content and instructions in an engaging comic format. If you have a handful of students who refuse to read the directions, this format will work wonders. Students find comics engaging and approachable. Take advantage of this with unique science comics!


Rock Cycle Diagram

Rock Cycle

Discover the stages of the rock cycle with these engaging diagrams and learning activities. Did you know the Earth’s interior is so hot it can actually melt rock? Melted rock is called magma, and this is the start of the rock cycle. This eye-catching comic explains the cycle and describes the three types of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic).


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