Even though I really love drawing comics, I’m a junior high school teacher and… I teach Math… And Physics… And Chemistry… I definitely had to do something not to be hated by my students.
That’s why, a few years ago, I began thinking about combining my knowledge and my passion to make Science more enjoyable for my students. This led me to read a lot of comic books about science, so I could better understand how to create a good one for them.
But while some of the comics I read were engaging and compelling, others were terribly boring! So, what makes a science comic a useful tool to engage students in understanding difficult concepts of science and what should be avoided?
My doctoral research focuses on answering this question, trying to identify the limits and potential benefits of using comics as a tool for scientific divulgation, especially in teaching Science. The work went through two different phases:
Firstly I addressed the topic with particular attention to those pedagogical, narrative and visual aspects that, according to scientific research, should be considered to make a compelling comic. Then, I used my findings to revise an old comic strip of mine. The result? A national award-winning science comic.
Yes, “Archimedes and the mystery of the crown” won second place at the 2020 edition of the Italian National Science Divulgation Prize.
Afterwards, I carried out statistical and narrative analysis of actual field experiments.
Finally, the result of my research suggest that comics are an effective tool in making science more enticing to the public, and that their effectiveness can be increased through the collaboration of experts in the fields of teaching, scientific divulgation, visual communication and storytelling.
So, having fun learning science really is possible!
Emanuela Gemelli: Linkedin
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