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Graphic Novels as Gateways: Sparking STEM Discoveries with Jason M. Burns

Cover photo for Adventures in Learning podcast, episode 71. Graphic Novels as Gateways to Reading: Sparking STEM Discoveries with Jason M. Burns

Explore the integration of storytelling and STEM with Jason M. Burns. His comics aren't just for fun—they're gateways to learning and discovery!

In a world where education is constantly evolving, graphic novels have emerged as a potent tool for teaching complex concepts in an engaging way. Jason M. Burns, an innovator in the educational comic book industry, is at the forefront of this transformation. Throughout his career, Jason has seen graphic novels evolve from being considered mere entertainment to being pivotal educational tools, especially for reluctant readers. By integrating STEM concepts into familiar fairy tales, Jason has found a way to make learning an enjoyable experience for children.

During the podcast, Jason talks about his transition from an entertainment journalist and screen writer to a key player in the educational comics scene. His approach to teaching through storytelling is simple yet profound. Instead of presenting dry, technical information, Jason  twists classic narratives into adventures that teach children STEM concepts in a seamless and fun way. His series, which includes titles like Jack and the Beanstalk's Cloudy Close-Up and Hansel and Gretel and the All You Can Eat Sweet Buffet, offers children lessons in meteorology, plant growth, nutrition, and survival skills without them realizing they are learning!

Jason's commitment to education goes beyond the creation of graphic novels. His own experiences as a parent have shaped the way he approaches storytelling. By running his material by his children, he ensures that his work resonates with young readers and provides them with valuable takeaways that they are eager to share with friends. Check out some of his most recent creations like The Crocodingo That Loved a Flamingo and The Yeti Who Coughed Up Confetti.

With the Frog Boy series, Jason delves into the realm of social and emotional learning, again demonstrating the versatility of comics and manga. Though Frog Boy doesn't include specific educational callouts, the series is designed to provide life lessons through storytelling, which can be just as impactful. Jason also touches on the technical aspects of creating graphic novels, such as the challenge of lettering manga, which reads right to left, rather than left to right as is common in Western literature. This adds a layer of complexity not only to the creation process but also to the reading experience, offering children a unique opportunity to develop their cognitive flexibility.

As graphic novels continue to gain recognition as educational tools, it's creators like Jason M. Burns who will lead the charge in sparking STEM discoveries for young minds everywhere. Also, be sure to check out the What About? podcast that Jason co-hosts with Danny Nucci.

You can listen to the entire Adventures in Learning podcast conversation with Jason M. Burns here:

You can watch the Adventures in Learning conversation with Jason M. Burns here:

You can order Jason's books here:

Note: I am a affiliate. If you click through and make a purchase, I may make a small commission. I offer these lists as a guide for you. Please feel free to purchase at your own independent bookstore or check them out at your library.

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