Superheroes Lesson Plans


As James Kakalios,  the author of The Physics of Superheroes, explains, students never say, “When are we going to use this in real life?” when he uses superheroes to teach. Apparently, he says, all of them have future plans that involve wearing lycra and saving cities.

Your students, too, will be responsive to lessons involving superheroes. Science is an obvious connection, as is reading and writing. Superhero School by Aaron Reynolds brings math into the mix for young students.

superhero lesson plans

Online resources:

  • Shelley Hong Xu has a super heroes lesson plan incorporating critical reading and visual literacy.
  • TeacherDude has a lesson plan intended for ESL/EFL, but it could work well for younger native speakers. There’s a communication-focused game, and a writing assignment. Skip the Hero Factory — it’s no longer the same website.
  • Elasmosaur has a math worksheet generator that cranks out printable arithmetic worksheets with superhero decorations.
  • The Physics of Superheroes is an excellent and inspiring book for fluent readers in middle school and up. Read an excerpt on Aquaman for a new look at surface tension. The Science of Superheroes is an alternative, possibly easier to read and with a somewhat wider frame of reference. Get both and use them together to examine some of the thornier issues of science or of superheroes. Introduce the concept with this clip from Big Bang Theory:

Jazz up your basic lessons by using superheroes, or grab some posters and make it your classroom theme.

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  1. Hey Rebecca, superhero comics were my first exposure to a lot of basic science, especially physics. Superman has superpowers in the wavelengths of light from a yellow sun, but lacks them under a red sun (which his home planet Krypton had). Lead blocks X-rays, superfast motion creates heat from friction, etc. Comic books incorporated basic science ideas into the plot and sometimes to explain surprise endings. We learned to understand science in the context of cool stories. Even the letters columns included reader objections to why something was physically impossible. We would argue what was possible. Later I started reading science fiction, and found there was “hard” science fiction, which adhered to the known laws. Terrific introduction to science that makes it fun and relevant!

    • I think it was Kenneth Goodman who said that any school system that could make math and Shakespeare boring had serious flaws. We could say the same about science. Sometimes it takes a whiz bang introduction to a subject to let kids discover for themselves how cool it is.

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