Cartoons are cartoon-style drawings that put forward
a range of viewpoints about an everyday event. Naylor
and Keogh (1999) developed, researched and refined their use
as a science assessment and teaching tool. They are
now exploring their use in mathematics.
presentation of alternative ideas about a concept,
including the scientifically acceptable stance;
the use of visual images;
minimal use of written language; and
contexts that are familiar to children.
the beginning or part way through a unit of work, to:
an indication of the range of students' ideas within
identify areas of misconception;
stimulate starting points for investigations;
offer challenges that may lead to restructuring of
the end of a unit of work to:
strategy takes account of constructivist views of learning,
that is, taking students' ideas into account when planning
teaching. By presenting a number of possible alternatives,
"cognitive conflict" generates conditions
for learning readiness.
It also draws on research into common areas of misunderstanding
the strategy works
cartoons stimulate students to discuss their ideas,
including those that are normally reluctant to do
so. This gives teachers access to those ideas. It
also gives students access to each other's ideas,
which may prompt them to reconsider their own.
The visual cartoons and minimal written text provide
a valid assessment strategy for students with poor
literacy skills, reluctant learners, and ESOL students.
Concept cartoons appear to reduce the risk of fear
of giving a "wrong" response.
Naylor, S. and Keogh, B. (1999). Constructivism in classroom:
Theory into practice. Journal of Science Teacher
Education 10 (2), 93-106.
Present the concept cartoon to individual students,
small groups, or the class.
Ask them to comment on each statement or ask them
to indicate which statement they agree with.
Ask students to give a reason for their choice. This
is particularly important for accessing their thinking
Encourage debate between students with different opinions.
Follow up discussions with students setting up investigations
to explore their ideas.
that for some concept cartoons there may be no one right
answer. "It depends on…" may be an appropriate
generate your own concept cartoon
everyday contexts that students are familiar with.
Provide three or four alternative statements for discussion.
Generally use positive rather than negative statements.
Refer to research on common alternative conceptions
as a source for statements.
Include the scientifically acceptable viewpoint.
Some multiple-choice questions are suitable for adapting
to a concept cartoon.
here for examples of concept cartoons
need to access research into common alternative ideas
to construct their own concept cartoons.
Cartoon faces or stances that are not carefully chosen
can inadvertently provide clues.
of having faces, just use speech bubbles from the "Draw"
feature of your word processing programme. This may be
more appropriate for older students.
of ARB resources that use the concept cartoon strategy
that involve using concept cartoons
strategies | ARB