Title

Are Comic Books an Effective Way to Engage Nonmajors in Learning and Appreciating Science?

Publication Date

2011

Journal

CBE - Life Science Education

Volume

10

Issue

3

First Page

309

Last Page

317

Abstract

Comic books employ a complex interplay of text and images that gives them the potential to effectively convey concepts and motivate student engagement. This makes comics an appealing option for educators trying to improve science literacy about pressing societal issues involving science and technology. Here, we report results from the first systematic assessment of how a science comic book can affect student learning and attitudes about biology. We used pre- and postinstruction instruments to measure students’ attitudes about biology, attitudes about comics, and content knowledge about evolution before and after using the science comic book Optical Allusions in their classes. On the preinstruction instrument, nonmajors reported the lowest scores on the content test and attitude surveys relative to the other groups. However, on the postinstruction instrument, nonmajors’ content scores and attitudes showed a statistically significant improvement after using the comic book, particularly among those with lower content knowledge at the start of the semester. The improvement in attitudes about biology was correlated to attitudes about comics, suggesting that the comic may have played a role in engaging and shaping student attitudes in a positive way.

DOI

10.1187/cbe.10-07-0090

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