There’s no need to divide critical thinking from creativity. The two easily meld into classroom activities with art as the starting point.
- Analyze the evolution of comic strips using the familiar Peanuts comic strips and other comic strips.
- Explore comic strips from the perspective of a story (setting, characters, plot).
- Evaluate comic strips by looking at words, pictures, and how they work together.
- Create an original comic strip to convey mathematical information.
- Share original comic strips with younger students as a reference tool.
Teachers should review the lesson and standards. Math standards are suggested but not limited to the ones listed. Visit CCSS Math Standards for more information. Review the book, Comic Strips: Create Your Own Comic Strips from Start to Finish by Art Roche. Select a video from the Peanuts Collection or Snoopy Collection (example: Peanuts Independence Day). Exploring the following resources is also helpful prior to teaching the lesson: Early Peanuts Comics Strips (1950-1968), age-appropriate comic strips, an example Math Comic Strip, the history of comic strips, and parts of a story.
Students should be familiar with grade-level math and parts of a story (setting, characters, plot).
Adapt math materials as needed and allow extra time for task completion.
- Show a Peanuts comic strip video, such as Snoopy in Space or Peanuts Motion Comics: Independence Day.
- Prompt a class discussion with the following questions: Is this fiction or nonfiction? (It is creative nonfiction, using fictional characters to share factual information.) Who is familiar with the Peanuts characters? What other Peanuts shows have you seen? What story elements do you recognize? What is the goal of the production? What art technique is used to produce this video?
- Explore the evolution of Early Peanuts Comics (1950-1968). Ask students: What similarities and differences do you notice about the comic strips? How many frames are used in each strip? What role does color play in creating these comic strips? Who created these comic strips? (Introduce the creator, Charles Schultz, to the class.)
- Discuss the history of comic strips. Share that comic strips have been used as a communications tool for over 100 years and the first successful daily comic strip was Mutt and Jeff, which started in 1907. Comic strips are used to tell a story. They have three main parts of a story: setting, characters, and plot. Comic strips use words and pictures equally. Comic strips use a series of frames to show story movement.
- Explore age-appropriate comic strips. Have students work either independently, in groups, or as a class to explore other comic strips. Examine each comic strip for parts of a story, the use of words and pictures, and the number of frames used.
- Discuss the use of comic strips to convey factual information. Ask students: What factual information was shared in the comic strips or video we watched? What other factual information can be shared using a comic strip? Why would a comic strip creator want to share nonfiction information in this format?
- Create original comic strips using the Comic Strip Template or digital comic strips with sites like Make Beliefs Comix, Pixton, or Digital Storyboard Maker. Have each student create a 4-frame comic strip to convey a math concept. Model a math concept, then assign a math concept (learned or reinforced in the student’s previous grade) to each student. Using the three parts of a story, have each student create a comic strip to share the math concept. Have the student first work in pencil (drawing lightly). Review each comic strip draft for accuracy. Once approved, ask the student to “ink” the strip using a permanent fine tip marker. Erase any remaining pencil marks. Each student should title (top line) and sign (bottom line) the strip.
- Create a “Math by Comic Strip” book. Compile all comic strips into a single book. (You may want to create two books: one to share and one to keep as a classroom.)
- Share the “Math by Comic Strip” book with students in the previous grade. Have each student present their comic strip to another student or the class.
- Assess students’ knowledge with one of the following writing or discussion prompts: What were students able to learn about math from reading your comic strip? How did your words and pictures work together to create a math story? What story elements were present in your comic strip? Who would the audience for your book be?
- Compare and contrast a classic novel and a classic graphic, such as Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Treasure Island, or a nonfiction graphic novels, such as Greek and Roman Mythology.
December 9, 2019
Learn about artistically gifted students and how can others can help them reach their potential.
Fasten your smock, get out your art supplies, and prepare to get your hands dirty. Examine the physics behind Alexander Calder’s mobiles, the symbolism in the botany rendered in renaissance paintings, and the careful patience used in weaving a wampum belt in this exploration of a wide range of arts.
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