This lesson can be taught by a classroom teacher.
Composing and Planning, Producing, Executing and Performing
Creativity and Innovation
Starting with the familiar Peanuts comic strip characters in the form of video and print media, students explore comic strips as a form of communication of both fiction and nonfiction. In this lesson, each student creates an original comic strip to convey a mathematical concept to share with a younger student. The class then presents and shares the collection of comic strips as a math reference book to students in a lower grade.
Look at the evolution of comic strips using the familiar Peanuts comic strips and other comic strips
Explore comic strips from the perspective of story (setting, character, plot)
Evaluate comic strips by looking at words, pictures, and how they work together
Create an original comic strip to convey mathematical information
Share their comic strips with younger students as a reference tool
Group or Individual Instruction
What You'll Need
1 Computer per Learner
You will need Internet access.
Teachers should prepare for this lesson by doing the following:
Obtain and review the book:
Art for Kids: Comic Strips: Create Your Own Comic Strips from Start to Finish by Art Roche Select a Peanuts video
(preferably a creative nonfiction video) or review the short online segment of a Charlie Brown Video Review Early
Peanuts Comics (1950-1968) Review and select comic
strips that are appropriate for your class. Review the
history of comic strips Review
parts of a story. Prior Student Knowledge
Understanding of math skills from previous grade
Familiarity with parts of a story (setting, characters, plot)
Large Group Instruction
Small Group Instruction
Resources in Reach
Here are the resources you'll need for each activity, in order of instruction.
1. Show Peanuts comic strip video. Show either the online excerpt of Charlie Brown Independence Day Video or a full-length Peanuts video, such as Charlie Brown Independence Day, The Mayflower Voyagers, The Birth of the Constitution, The NASA Space Station, etc. Ask students:
Who is familiar with the Peanuts characters?
What other Peanut shows have you seen?
For this video, what is the setting?
Who are the characters?
What is the goal of the production?
What art technique is used to produce this video?
Is this fiction or nonfiction?
(It is creative nonfiction, using fictional characters to share factual information.)
1. Explore the evolution of Ask students:
Early Peanuts Comics (1950-1968).
What is the same about these comic strips?
What is different about these comic strips?
How many frames are used in each strip? (For these strips, four frames are used. The students will later create a 4-frame comic strip.)
What role does color play in creating these comic strips? Who created these comic strips?
(Introduce the creator, Charles Schultz, to the class.)
2. Discuss the Share that comic strips have been used as a communications tool for over 100 years and the first successful daily comic strip was
history of comic strips. Mutt and Jeff, started in 1907. Comic strips are used to tell a story. Comic strips have the three main parts of a story:
Comic strips use words and pictures equally. Comic strips use a series of frames to show story movement.
other comic strips
. Have students work either independently, in groups, or as a class to explore other comic strips. (Assign age-appropriate 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 Peanuts video
(at the beginning of this lesson)? 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?
1. Create original comic strips. Using the 'Comic Strip Template Worksheet' located within the Resource Carousel, have each student create a 4-frame comic strip to convey a math concept. 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) his or her strip.
2. 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 resource for your class.)
1. Share the Math by Comic Strip book with students in the previous grade. Have each student present his or her comic strip to another student or the class. Ask your students:
Were students able to understand your math concept by reading your comic strip?
How well did your pictures and words work together?
Were the three parts of a story present in your comic strip?
What did you do well?
What would you do differently?
What did you learn by creating this comic strip?
What other subject(s) or topic(s) could we create a comic strip book about?
Who would the audience for this book be?
Teachers may choose to extend this lesson by having students:
Create additional comic strip books in a similar manner.
Create comic strips using online comic strip tools, such as
Bitstrips Comic Creator or Comic Creator. Explore other comic strip artists.
Compare and contrast a classic novel and a classic graphic, such as Tales of Brothers
Grimm or Treasure Island. Explore a nonfiction graphic novel, such as Greek and Roman
The National Standards For Arts Education:
Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 1
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 2
Using knowledge of structures and functions
Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 3
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 4
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 5
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
Grade 9-12 Visual Arts Standard 6
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Language Arts Standard 1
Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
Language Arts Standard 5
Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process
Language Arts Standard 6
Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts
Language Arts Standard 9
Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
Common Core/State Standards
Select state and grade(s) below, then click "Find" to display Common Core and state standards.