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Primary Education News
News How to teach … superheroes
This week the Guardian Teacher Network's resources demonstrate the many ways in which superheroes can be used in teaching
Creative curriculum fans at some primary schools dedicate entire half-terms to superheroes, for good reason. From teaching philosophy and morals through the dilemmas of Peter Parker (AKA spiderman) to mathematics with a real pow and, of course, inspirational artwork, the theme will capture the imagination of children of all ages.
So the Guardian Teacher Network has zapped together some superhero-inspired resources to help inject some "zam" and "zwosh" into lessons.
We start with primary school teacher Des Hegarty's how to make a superhero fly science project, which achieves dramatic results with nothing more than an empty plastic milk bottle and a bit of card — the resource includes a Rocket Robert template and gets young students a taste of some great science vocab.
All superheroes need a good image – and costume designer and maker Tamsin Thorne from www.iwishiwasa.com has some imaginative ideas on creating super identities and making superhero costumes.
The education team at the Phoenix weekly story comic (aimed at key stage 2 but with older and younger fans) has some fantastic resources for superhero work. Find cartoonist Neill Cameron's guide How to draw awesome superheroes and the accompanying Superhero masterclass activity sheet where students can show some 'superskills' and finish off a senses-shattering superhero comic. Also find male and female dummy figures to design a costume for and create your own extra-super superhero.
This guide to what makes a good character helps children develop their visual literacy by looking at how characters, including superheroes, are created and introduced via images and words in a comic.
Writing dialogue? This thought bubble challenge will help students develop text and will prompt great discussion/interaction.
In ICT, children can make their own comic, online, with Culture Street's Super Action Comic Maker — it's a great literary tool, particularly to get relunctant boys writing. Another place to experiment is at artisan.cam.org.uk, which is brilliant for manipulating images and features a lot of the typical superhero and comic-strip styles and themes.
Children can become part of an elite squadron of science superheroes by playing Team WILD. This exciting and challenging educational game provides an opportunity for young people to become virtual superheroes with a mission to protect and conserve the planet's species and habitats from destruction – from jungle to savannah, rainforest to coral reef. Find teachers' notes on the game here.
Reward the superheroes in your classroom with this eye-catching superhero certificate and you can decorate your classroom with this fantastic banner. Pupils can also design a new superhero gadget for the Green Flash.
Times tables can be lots of fun with this superhero themed multiplication chart.
Secondary school-aged pupils don't have to ditch superheroes thanks to maths teacher Mel Muldowney. For an ideal introduction to simultaneous equations, without actually using any algebra, find Mel's wonderful superhero themed maths-based starter questions. And Vector snakes and ladders with a superheroes and villains theme is a great intro to translations/transformations in key stage 3 maths.
Older students can learn how to make a simple, effective animation using Photoshop with this guide, the resource, which is written for year 11s but can be used by older or younger students, focuses on the work of Muybridge but can easily be adapted with a superhero twist. Also find Culture Shop's guide to using Photoshop to create comics.
• Join the Guardian Teacher Network community www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network for free access to teaching resources and an opportunity to share your own. There are also thousands of teaching, leadership and support jobs on the site. Visit jobs.guardian.co.uk/schools