Adventures of Geo: Using comics as a learning tool

Friday, 19 December 2014
Kanani K M Lee, Yale University, Department of Geology and Geophysics, New Haven, CT, United States and Adam Wallenta, Illus Media, Hamden, CT, United States
Illustrations are a good way to visualize what is not readily seen. To take this medium a step further, we use illustrations in the form of comics as a way to teach Earth science concepts. The comic book format lends itself to engaging reading for young and old alike and has been used recently by the American Physical Society (APS) and by NASA as an outreach teaching tool. Due to their sequential nature, comic books make it easy for readers to follow a story and grasp concepts that are covered. The limited text in each panel can also help those where reading is a challenge or for those who become nervous and/or discouraged with long text passages. The illustrations also add visual clues that can aid in understanding the concepts being laid out.

In the second installment of “Adventures of Geo,” we use the comic book format to introduce the Moon, its formation, evolution, orbit and its interplay with Earth. The exploration of such faraway places is readily disseminated to the public through such a graphical approach. The comic books are aimed at middle school students in the New Haven Public Schools (NHPS) where Earth Science topics are covered in the curriculum.