Jul 25, 2007

Teaching Science and Mindstorms by Using Cartoons


Nevin Katz is a high school teacher who has taught Mindstorms robotics using his own "cartoon" curriculum. (The graphic shown is one of Katz' creations, "Dr. Birdley").

Nevin has a series of "cartoon" books teaching cell biology, atomic structure, chemical reactions and other subjects. His books can be ordered here. (Scroll down the page to the books on "Dr. Birdley").

Nevin is preparing a more extensive "cartoon curriculum" on Mindstorms robotics. If any teachers out there have thoughts on the educational goals that Nevin should pursue in teaching Mindstorms, then feel free to make comments here. Nevin will be listening!

7 comments:

Brian Davis said...

Well, I don't have any hand-drawn cartoons (because, well... I basicly can't draw to save my life), but he might be interested at how you can use a "comic book" approach to try to show how a mechanism works. Here's two of mine:

http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=161188

http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=123708

--
Brian Davis

Rick Rhodes said...

Brian,

Very nice. I seem to remember a Mac program that puts pictures and text in cartoon format.

Is that what you're using here?

Rick

Matthias Paul Scholz said...

Brian,

Great stuff! :-)
Interesting approach to visualizing LEGO models - might be rather appealing to young tinkerers.
I wonder if it wouldn't be a nice idea to provide comic-style building instructions also...

Jim Kelly said...

For Windows, I use Comic Book Creator... it's fun to use and I was unaware Brian had already developed some stuff like that...

Jim

Brian Davis said...

I used "Comic Life", which came on the Mac. It's an amazingly easy program to use, especially if you are on a Mac is it automaticly links into your iPhotos library to pull images across. The idea started out one day when I was documenting some sumo robots, and after carefully disassembling the first two I was a little punch-drunk by the time I got around to the third and fourth... so the Sumo comic strip was born (although only assembled a couple years later... it just flowed in my head during the photography). As to building instructions, I've put one of my robots (Clankers) on NXTlog up in a similar format, with simple minifig narration (but no comics).

http://mindstorms.lego.com/nxtlog/projectlist.aspx?SearchText=clankers

--
Brian Davis

Rick Rhodes said...

Brian,

"Comic Life", yes, that's the one I was trying to remember!

It's great fun, looks great, and they now have a beta version for Windows:

http://plasq.com/comiclife

Matthias Paul Scholz said...

Hm..both tools, Comic Book Creator and Comic Life, are commercial ones, right?
Before I invest in any of them: does anybody know of Open Source or at least free tools on that sector?

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