Ready, Set, Laugh

I am getting lost on the internet.

As I prepare my lessons for next year I am constantly searching for new ideas and resources. Today’s search somehow led me to a term that I had not yet heard, Cartoon Science. My first exploration of that term took me to a website by the same name. The owner of this site, Matteo Farinella, believes that cartoons can provide visual narratives that can communicate scientific information and bridge gaps between the public and academic worlds. Visit his Visualization page to find a source of authors and publishers who are sharing comics, videos, animations, and other similar type resources.

I already had a few of my own favourite comic and cartoon creators bookmarked, but I was intrigued to discover what else was easily available. Below you will find my updated list of math and science cartoons and comic resources, aside from the one mentioned above. Most sites have search features to allow you to find the topic of your choice.

Sydney Harris Math and Science Cartoons (he has been one of my favourites for years)

Randy Glasbergen and the Glasbergen Cartoon Service


Foxtrot (search Comics by Tag)

Frank & Ernest

Chris Madden

Science and Ink

I also love Calvin and Hobbes, but Bill Watterson’s website does not contain all of his comic strips. However, you can find his work on Go Comics. Alternately you could search Go Comics for specific comics, cartoons, and themes.

How can you incorporate these in the classroom? It is important to recognize that most of these cartoons and comics are bound by copyright rules, and so you or your students cannot just download them for personal use. However, here are a few ideas of how to incorporate comics and cartoons in the classroom:

  • Have a website link prepared before class to show a comic or cartoon (perhaps it would already be open as students enter the room) and have students explain what they see, how it relates to their learning, and why it is funny
  • Have students look through samples and then generate their own comic or cartoon based on curriculum content – these student generated creations could then be displayed on class websites with the permission of the creator
  • Show the cartoon or comic without the tagline or script and have students generate their own
  • Only show the tagline and have students draw a cartoon that represents that tagline, then compare to the original cartoon

Finally, I came across an interesting journal article titled Use of Cartoons and Comics to Teach Algebra in Mathematics Classrooms by Tim Lam Toh that shows how cartoons and comics can be used with students.

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