Science Fiction and Comics in the Classroom
On December 9, 2014, Art Way Alliance partnered with the Museum of Science Fiction to bring Science Fiction and Comics in the Classroom to a 5th grade class at John Eaton Elementary School, in Washington DC.
Under the direction of established comic book writers and artists, this pilot program aims to facilitate the understanding of how science fiction is created by guiding students in the development of their first comic strip.
For this particular program, we brought in Comic Book Writer and Editor Jason Rodriguez and Comic Book Artist Keir Lyles. Jason began the program by explaining to students the various ways they could use a current event – for example, the recent comet landing of the Rosetta probe– to create an idea of pure science fiction. Keir added to the instruction by describing his creative process and illustrating a few comic book concepts for the class. Students were then provided the opportunity to create and present their own amazing comic book ideas. One in particular was, “Space Cats Who Explore Space,” a tale about cats who boldly go on harrowing adventures throughout the galaxy. Other ideas focused on the Rosetta landing; students imagined what kind of alien race or undiscovered element would emerge from within Comet 67P/C-G.
As a group, the students created a blind ten year old girl with wild hair who shoots lasers from her eyes and has a seeing-eye horse. Her scientist father gave her the powers she possesses, and she is looking for her brother, who killed their father for reasons yet unknown. She has an interest in and uses Math, Science, and Social Studies to solve whatever problem she encounters in her quest to find her brother and discover her ancestry.
Through the Science Fiction and Comics in the Classroom pilot program, students do not just learn the creative process of a comic book story. They also discover how the science they absorb in school influences the science fiction they see on TV or read in books, which in turn can further inspire actual science.
We humbly thank the Museum of Science Fiction for this opportunity to attend John Eaton Elementary and instruct the children on science fiction comic books. We’d also like to thank Jason and Keir for taking the time out of their busy schedule to teach the kids. It was fantastic!