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Climate Change Comic Project

Teacher Instructions

Thanks for joining us in empowering kids to change the world through comics! Comic art is way to engage students in lessons, allow them to express what they know, and empower them to educate others.

Why teach about climate change?

It touches on many areas of science;
It is accessible to any age of student;
It’s relevant;
It’s a required element of the Next Generation Science Standards for many grade strands.

Why use comics?

Comic art allows students to express their learning in science and social studies through many modes of communication: informational reading and writing, art, and spoken communication.


Ready? Here’s what to do:

First: Teach your lessons or unit on climate change. We can’t tell you what to teach or how to teach it, but here are some resources to help:

Scripps Institute of Oceanography:


NASA - https://climate.nasa.gov/resources/education/
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administraton: https://www.climate.gov/teaching


Part ONE: Finding Subjects:

When you’re ready to have students express their understanding through a project, have students create comics about what climate change looks like locally, where you live, how it is affecting people, and what people are doing to solve the problem.

1. Teacher Identifies local professionals whose work is affected by, or has an impact on, climate and climate change. Here are just a few examples: auto sales (electric vehicles), transit officials and bus drivers (public transit use); electric grid operators (where does energy come from?); farmers (water use issues, growing season changes), foresters (why are forests important to climate) grocery store managers (food transport and growth); clergy – pastors, rabbis and imams (ethical issues); homeless shelter workers, forest managers, natural resource managers, firefighters, meteorologists, airline pilots, fishermen, water resource managers, port commissioners, professors, scientists, roofers, builders and developers, people living along rivers or coasts, zoo keepers, lighthouse keepers, doctors and nurses (heat and smoke related health issues); EMTs, emergency workers (hurricanes, wildfires); Red Cross workers.

2. Teacher contacts professionals and asks if they’d be interested or willing to answer a student’s questions, Here’s a sample letter:

Dear Ms. X, I'm doing a climate change comic book with my 6th grade students. They will be interviewing professionals who have had their work affected, or whose work affects, climate change in some way in our region. They will be asking  questions via email. I was wondering if you, or anyone you know, might be willing to be interviewed by email or visit our classroom by zoom. Our deadline is  ________ to complete our project, and we’re planning to begin by _______. Let me know if you are interested and willing to participate.
Thank you!

3. Once  a list of willing participants is secured, teacher sends out an explanatory letter: (sample below)
Dear Climate Change Comic Project partners,
Thank you so much for taking time to answer my students' questions about how you encounter evidence of climate change in your work, and/or how your work helps alter the impact of climate change. Students are curious to hear both information about what you do and a story about an encounter or incident with something connected with climate change. The story doesn't need to be anything big. It can just be telling about what you do in your work, or it can be a single incident that happened that caught your eye. If I were interviewed, for example, a climate related story I might tell is an encounter I had with an out-of-place  tropical fish while swimming across La Jolla bay, or I might tell about learning about climate-induced changes in the grunion runs I help monitor as a Grunion Greeter citizen scientist. Since the students are creating comics, the stories will help them convey information about climate change through both words and pictures.

We have among your ranks city officials, fire fighters, scientists, activitsts, wild land managers, biologists, chemists, mathematicians, pulmonologists, general practioners, authors, fishermen, and naturalists. We can't thank you enough for being part of this project. 

In the next few days, you will receive a letter with questions from my email address but written by a student, since we aren't allowed to let kids email strangers directly. You can email your answers back to me, and I will pass them on to the student.  If you can answer in a day or two, that will help us keep on our schedule of beginning to draw our comics on Monday. If you can send a picture of yourself or the work that you do, that would be great, too!

When the project is all done, and we have a comic book printed up, I will let you know and will send you a copy of your student's comic page. 

Let me know if you have any questions!
Thank you,

4. Teacher assigns Students to a partner, based on their interests. They can write letters or emails sent through teachers’ email addresses using a set of class questions, as well as additional questions students create, based on their partnership.   (sample letter below)

Dear  ______ ,

My name is ______________. Thank you for helping me with my climate change comic. Here are my questions.
Please tell me about the work that you do.
What is some of the work that you do that is related to climate change?
How have you seen climate change have an effect on the world in some way?
Can you tell a story about how climate change has affected your work and/or how can we solve it?
Thank you!


Lesson one: Comic Art.

Read students a book of graphic nonfiction and share pictures with a doc camera, or through slides. There are many books and examples on the market. Have students notice elements of the book.
discussion questions: 
What do you notice about the cover? (bold writing, active picture, bright colors)
What do you notice about each page? (Note: things to notice are listed below)
Gutter (space) between panels
Border around page
Pictures and words in each panel
Speech balloons;
Thought bubbles;
Captions for words
Move from left to right and down the page so your eye knows where to move.
Camera angles : close up, extreme close up; Mid-shot (waist up); Landscape/longshot; extreme long shot.
Points of view—worms-eye, birds-eye.

The book Adventures in Cartooning by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost, is a great way to introduce students to how comics tell a story and can be used in lessons to identify elements of comics.


PART THREE: Creating Comics:

Draft One:

Students read letters and emails from professional partners.

What part of the letter could be turned into a comic? Brainstorm.

Begin with sketches in pencil. Sketch the main character. Sketch some action scenes.

Make panels using a ruler, making sure there is a gutter between panels, and a border around the sides.
Use pencil for drafts.
Include at least 3 camera angles on each page.
Stick figures are fine.
Finish with a Museum Walk in which students view and critique each others’ work using sticky notes to make kind and honest comments about camera angles, lines, legibility, and information.

Ask: Can you understand what is going on? Are you learning about climate change? What more information can the author provide in words or pictures to help you learn about climate change locally?


Draft 2:

Students use each others’ comments to improve their work for a second draft.
Go over draft 2 in ink (extra fine sharpies work well)



1. Cover: When all comics are turned in, ask students who would like to participate in a cover contest. Students draw covers and vote on which cover to use for your class book.

2. Order: Put the pages in order and share them with students.  Ask them to think about and comment on:
What order should the pages be in? Why?
What else does the public need to know to understand climate change after reading our book? Do we need to add pages or information?
What else do we need in our book? Back cover? Table of Contents? An explanation of climate change and the project?

3. Publishing your comic:

Visit www.lulu.com to learn more about publishing your comic.

Note: it is less expensive to publish a comic with a color cover and black and white insides.

4. Have a Book Signing so student authors can sign their books:

When your comic is published, contact a comic book store, art gallery or book store in your area to do a book signing. Invite families, the press, science institutions, Rotary, museums, and any other group who might be interested in your project to come and buy a comic book, or invite them to order online from Lulu.com.

contact us:
Finally: contact us and share a pdf of your work, and a link to where we can buy your class’s comic, at the Climate Change Comic Project at www.WordstoGoSD.com We can’t wait to watch kids change the world!










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