Session A14: Focus Session: New Ways of Communicating Physics

8:00 AM–10:48 AM, Monday, March 21, 2011
Room: D227

Sponsoring Unit: FEd
Chair: Leonardo Colletti,

Abstract ID: BAPS.2011.MAR.A14.5

Abstract: A14.00005 : Teaching Physics Through Comic Books

9:12 AM–9:24 AM

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  Rebecca Thompson
    (American Physical Society)

  Tassia Owen
    (American Physical Society)

Comics have been around as a form of entertainment for decades. They are often as seen as one of the distracting vices of kids (and adults!), but comics and their more adult version, the graphic novel, are increasingly valued as a legitimate genre of literature. The APS Outreach Department has created three comic books, one featuring Nikola Tesla and his battles with the evil Thomas Edison, and two about laser super hero Spectra and her continuing battles with the nefarious Miss Alignment. These comics have struck a delicate balance between education and entertainment being well received by both the comic book and education communities. By creating a compelling comic story that has correct physics, it is possible to use this under-appreciated medium to excite middle-school students who might otherwise be turned off by traditional teaching methods. One lesson-learned is that It is very important to make sure first and foremost that the students enjoy the story and that they feel a connection to the characters. Students are thus hooked and once they are drawn in, the learning happens automatically..

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