Writing comics to activate prior knowledge!

Sometimes students need a quick assignment to help them activate their prior knowledge. Over the years, I have used short warm-ups, review readings and videos to help stimulate my students knowledge base. Often, I have felt that the students are not engaged with watching video or reading an article. Students have even commented “we studied this last year” or “I already know this!”

When I noticed that students would need to review the water cycle before studying how humans effect our natural resources, I wanted to find a way to engage my students in a review. After looking at many options I decided on the following assignment:

Water Cycle Comic Strip

 You are to develop your own multi-panel comic strip. It will follow one water drop’s journey through the ENTIRE water cycle (also known as the Hydrologic cycle). You will be graded on:

 A.   Including all 9 vocabulary terms and using them correctly

  • Evaporation
  • Condensation
  • Transpiration
  • Precipitation
  • Run-off
  • Ground water / Aquifer 
  • Infiltration
  • Surface Water

B. Written in story form from the water drop’s point of view

C. Colorful, NEAT, and unique

D.  Title that includes:

  • name
  • period
  • Title of book or comic strip

E.  Spelling, grammar, & Punctuation

Please do your best…and have fun! Project Due Friday May 17!

Here is an online example of a complete comic strip! another simple example.

If you are working on this activity at home this website will help you.

This assignment is due for my 7th grade students tomorrow. They had 2 days in class and 4  nights to work on the assignment. As I have walked around the classroom. I have overheard students having great conversations about the water cycle. Students have been asking questions about how the order in which the vocabulary should appear. Students appear engaged and interested in completing the assignment. I wish we had access to technology to complete the assignment because many have asked if they can use ToonDoo to complete the project. I encouraged them to use the paper storyboard to plan the comic and use ToonDoo at home. This time of year I dread projects since students just want to be done with everything and lack “grit”. After observing the progress this week, I am excited about seeing what my students create to express their knowledge.

Teachers need to keep looking for ways to activate prior knowledge that engage the students in discussions and reflections. By using project that focus on creation, students will have to be engaged. True learning comes when the students create products that demonstrate their knowledge. This is a simple assignment that will help student be knowledgeable and ready to use their knowledge in the next unit.

3 thoughts on “Writing comics to activate prior knowledge!

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