Using Comics in Math Class

Comics

Comics/cartoons have been used to communicate important issues for many years.  Education has even been part of the comic movement.  Susan O’hanian has demonstrated with her website how cartoons can communicate and start important conversations.  I’ve tinkered with comics in my math classroom this year.

I believe that humor has a place in the classroom.   Comics can bring in a humor aspect, as well as practicality and motivation that can engage students.  My students are starting their algebra unit this week and I’ve been looking for new ways to introduce combining like terms and solving for unknown variables.  In the past I’ve used Hands-on-Equations and different types of narratives that explain how like terms can be combined.  After a lot of searching,  I ended up using pages 5 – 8 in this pdf to help introduce the concept this year.  Students responded well to the comic and I believe it helped them complete the activity in the document below.  I used one of the practice sheets as a model and the second sheet was completed and shared in student groups.

Combining Like Terms Activity

When I look back at some of my favorite K-12 teachers, many of them were able to connect and build rapport with students quickly and use humor appropriately.  I’m going to explore how to use  comics a bit more in my classroom over the next few weeks.  I may even have students create their own through comic creator apps on the iPad.

How do you use comics in the classroom?