Kids' Chemical Solutions

Capturing Early Eager Learners with Chemistry Comics

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How Does the M.C. Detective Agency Series of Comic Books Mirror College-Level Chemistry?

The comic books created as part of the M.C. Detective Agency series were carefully scaffolded to align with the learning objectives found in a 100-level college chemistry course. A comparison of the learning outcomes found in the comic books in the M.C. Detective Agency series with those found in the #1 best-selling college chemistry textbook by Raymond Chang is shown below:

The juxtaposition of college-level chemistry learning outcomes with cute, funny, characters in a comic book format then begs the questions, “Who is the intended audience?” and “What age group are these comic books for?” The answer to both questions is that these comic books are intended for ANYONE who wants to learn fundamental concepts in chemistry that are traditionally taught in advanced high school courses or introductory college courses. [Note: Age 8 was set as a soft lower limit due to the reading level of the comic books and does not imply that they are only for elementary school students.]

Let’s consider a music/chemistry comparison. Suppose your entire family wanted to learn how to play the piano. Where do you start? Is there a different beginning for 8-year-old, 15-year-old, or the parent? No. All would start at the beginning learning fundamental notes on a sheet of music and the location of those notes on a keyboard. Could an 8-year-old learn at the same rate and level as the 15-year-old? Why not? The younger child and the older child have the same starting point…. the beginning. Now let’s pivot to learning chemistry. Say you want everyone in the family to learn how to write and balance a chemical equation (a common learning objective found in college-level chemistry). Everyone would start with learning the names and symbols of elements followed by navigating the Periodic Table. The names and symbols of elements are like the musical notes and the Periodic Table is like the keyboard.

If you’re following, you’ll see that the comic books in the M.C. Detective Agency are an excellent way for elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and those returning to college (for example those wanting to change careers and enter a medical field) students to learn chemistry. The outcomes for each group will be the same – mastery of college level chemistry concepts.

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