A Concept… with a Cartoon?!

What is a Concept Cartoon?

A concept cartoon is an image that can be presented to children, it often involves cartoon chracters, a scenario and speech bubbles.These are popularly used in Science and Mathematics.

The way they are set out often shows a set of different opinions and outcomes around a specific area  or topic. The debate between characters presented on the cartoon, often  aims to provoke discussion and stimulate scientific thinking.

Naylor and Keoogh (2006) suggest that concept cartoons are highly successful for eliciting children’s ideas in science.


How can Concept Cartoons be used?

Learners can either create their own concept cartoon or work with one provided as a source of scaffolding. They can either be used at the start of a topic as a method of formative assessment. Using it as a starter, may allow the teacher to identify what the children may already know about a new topic.

Concept cartoons could be used with specific groups and abilities, especially those who may struggle with reading. This may be a way of introducing higher abstract levels to those learners, through dicussion of what may be happening in the image.

They could even be used indvidually during the plenary of a lesson or as a extra ‘challenge’, especially for G&T children, this could further their thinking, as it allows the child to be introduced to a new concept and see different ideas presented in the cartoon. Essentially, this may lead to independent thinking as the child has to use their own thinking skills to form their own opinion on the matter. Even if they’re are not correct the concept cartoon can lead to logic and reasoning.


Why use Concept Cartoons?

  • Frutiful way for children to begin a debate of their ideas.
  • Encourages discussion amongst children.
  • Allows children to see that science can be a matter of opinion and that evidence is actullay needed to support ideas.
  • Allows children to voice their ideas with a prompt.
  • Can lead to clearer understanding.
  • May lead to logic and reasoning skills.
  • Elicits childrens Ideas.


Concept Cartoon Examples:


Further Research and Sources:


KEOUGH, B., NAYLOR, S., DOWNING, B., MALONEY, J., and SIMON S. 2006. PUPPETS bringing stories to life in science. Primary Science Review, 97, 13-16.

377 Didem İ nel and Ali Gü nay Balım / Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 93 ( 2013 ) 376 – 380

2308 Fitnat Kaptan and Ümit İ zgi / Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 ( 2014 ) 2307 – 2311


SHARP, J., PEACOCK G., JOHNSEY, R., SIMON, S., SMITH, R., CROSS A., and HARRIS, D. 2014. Primary Science Teaching Theory & Practice. 7th ed. London: SAGE.

CROSS, A., BOWDEN A. 2014. Essential primary science. 2nd ed. London: Open University Press.









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