Learning Calculus and Quantum Physics Through Comics

Many people find calculus and quantum physics intimidating. These subjects are for geeky, smart kids with no social life, right? Well, geeky kids might find calculus fun and interesting in ways most others may not, but thanks to comic-style books on these subjects, calculus and physics feel more like reading the Sunday comics in the newspaper than memorizing mind-bending formulas and esoteric theorems. Even better, comics appeal to younger kids, making calculus and physics more accessible to everyone.

The Cartoon Guide to Calculus

Larry Gornick

The writing is irreverent and witty, with likable cartoon characters delivering tidbits of important information. We love Gornick’s personification of functions as bodily functions and his lovable professor and hip female sidekick characters. They make learning about limits, functions, and derivatives fun!

Quantum Thoery A Graphic Guide

J. P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate

The Quantum Theory Graphic Guide isn’t a humorous book like The Cartoon Guide to Calculus, but it does have comic appeal with its off-the-wall illustrations. This book breaks concepts into small, manageable chunks of text but delivers its impact through its illustrations. Characters are mostly famous quantum physicists from history and they’re drawn to look rather odd. In fact, they’d fit into the Addams Family pretty well. By the end of this book, readers will feel like they know Niels Bohr, Max Planck, Wolfgang Pauli, and other famous quantum physicists.

These books engage learners through quirky, witty humor and are a great way to erase the intimidation factor that looms over physics and calculus. Wouldn’t it be great if kids think about Calculus the same way they think about learning to ride a bike or to sing a song? The key is to keep it fun. Don’t establish rules for reading these books. After all, following rules sucks all the fun out of learning. So, keep an open mind and laugh at the funny illustrations and geeky humor. Understand that the most important part of any learning process is the joy of it. If something doesn’t make sense or appeal to a learner, skip to the next section or take a break. Use these materials to supplement traditional materials or as an introduction. Either way, focus on the joy of learning.

It’s refreshing to see authors embracing this format because  kids find comic books fascinating and will read anything more readily in this format. Add a bit of humor and you’ve got an irresistible hook for sharing just about anything.

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By Gina Clifford

Gina Clifford is the founder and publisher for SpottyBanana. She is a child-led, project-based learning advocate, an online communications manager for a Fortune 500 company, and a TEDx Organizer. Gina enjoys sharing resources, ideas, news, and voices that prompt readers to ‘think differently’ about education and learning.

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