Comics and Gaming Used to Teach STEM in Schools


Two of my favorite possessions are graphic novels I got at ComicCon two years ago.  One is the story of Marie Curie (pioneering researcher of radioactivity and the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes).  The other is about Hedy Lamarr (actress, spy, cryptographer, spectrum hopper).  Both novels are in a series called Dignifying Science: Stories About Women Scientists.

Comic books and graphic novels are fast becoming a way to teach alternative learners how to read and how to learn. In some cases, they are used to teach girls about women in the sciences that they never would have known about.

The term STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Traditionally, it has  been used to discuss how to get more girls to study these subjects in college since these are the subjects usually underrepresented by women.

Recently, the Obama Administration has launched Educate to Innovate, which is a widespread appeal to bring more students into these fields as they will be the ones to become key components of national security.

A recent study by Purdue University [pdf] shows that there is a “crisis” identified in the area of global technological competitiveness.  It mentions overall retention and enrollment rates over the past six years as lower than ever before.

Enter comic books, graphic novels and of course, a gaming contest.  The National Game Design competition is open to everyone from middle school to educators, and the goal is “to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passion for playing and making video games.”

This is not a new idea.  In 1953, the company General Electric (GE) started printing comics in runs of up to three million in order to attract young minds to science.

It is a smart move on the administration’s part to reintroduce comics and graphic novels as a way to attract, entice and generally just make science cool again.


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$100,000 Prize for 17-Year-Old Cancer Researcher

Don’t Know Much About Anthropology: Rick Scott Censures the Liberal Arts


Photo credit: Terry McCombs


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Sando H.
Past Member 3 years ago

Waooow!! Nice blog, this will be greatly helpful.
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Chad A.
Chad A6 years ago

When you let teachers take control of education they tend to come up with ideas about how to make education relevant to students using the media that most motivate them and that they most understand.

clara H.
Clara Hamill6 years ago

This is a great idea which they had this when I was young.

Robyn B.
Robyn B6 years ago

This is an excellent idea and I am pleased to see such innovation.
Being a fan and long time collector of comics and graphic novels, it is nice to read this. Many people are unaware that some of the greatest modern classics are to be found within the pages of comic books and graphic novels such as Neil Gaiman's The Sandman and Alan Moores V For Vendetta and Watchman. Also the Harry Potter books owe a lot to Neil Gaiman's Timothy Hunter and The Books Of Magic which came out a full nine years before the JK Rowling books.
Thanks for the article on this.

Linda T.
Linda T6 years ago

Yes this is a very smart move.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons6 years ago

Marie Curie "Because of their levels of radioactivity, her papers from the 1890s are considered too dangerous to handle. Even her cookbook is highly radioactive. They are kept in lead-lined boxes, and those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing" from Wikipedia.

eusebio vestias
Eusebio vestias6 years ago

Eu gosto dos livros da banda Desenhada é um excelente trabalho mostrar e ensinar as crianças com estes livros