Have you heard the news about Belle Isle? According to some Detroit high school science students, zombies have threatened to take it over, and only through their intensive lab experiments will it survive! At least that’s the storyline in their specially-created comic book fantasy, “Battle for Belle Isle,” 40 pages of educational curiosity and high jinx, courtesy of the Third 90 Network—a Michigan Colleges Foundation (MCF) program that pairs member colleges like Marygrove with urban high school students for hands-on learning in environmental science.
Their latest venture: partnering with the Belle Isle Conservancy to conduct environmental research in and around the Blue Heron Lagoon. Students are half-way through a year-long program that focuses primarily on water quality testing. Could their results hold the key to the island’s future? Maybe. But their findings are certain to teach them a bundle about the island’s ecosystem, and a whole lot more about themselves— and the way they like to learn.
The Institute for Arts Infused Education at Marygrove is helping to put a creative spin on this already innovative learning model, by teaching students to report their findings in a frame-by-frame comic book format, using colorful illustrations and thought bubbles to animate their lab reports. The results were compiled in a published keepsake comic book. And everyone involved had something to contribute.