One feature of the AIMS Essential Math Units, a series that is targeted for middle school, is the inclusion of comics as a way to show students engaged with some of the activities in a unit.
Our hope for the comics was that they would help to make explicit the content knowledge that is the focus of an activity. Students can use the comics to review learning or clarify the experiences they had as they were engaged with the activity. The comics also provide reading within the content area.
The context for each comic is a classroom of students taught by either Ms. Cho or Mr. David. Typically the comic “looks in” on the class as they engage in conversation about what they learned from an activity that they have just completed.
The students reading this comic would likely have done the activity, “Pi Pieces and Parallelograms,” the day before. The comic depicts them processing what they experienced by engaging in the activity.
I had high hopes for the comics; however, the feedback has not been nearly what I had hoped for and I’m wondering why. I get good reviews from in-service teachers when I assign them to be read in a graduate geometry course. But I don’t get the impression that many of the teachers who buy and use the books in this series are actually making much use of the comics.
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