A concept cartoon to kickstart discussions about why water striders can walk on water

In March, we are developing concept cartoons. They are perfect to get people discussing, since they give several common answers to a question and people have to explain why some of them are valid while others are not.

In Sara’s case, the question is “why are water striders able to walk on water?” and answers include “because they are so light”, “because they distribute their weight”, “because of their long legs”, “because of surface tension”, “because they re so fast”. What do you think? Why can water striders walk on water? And how would you use concept cartoons for your own topic?

#SciCommChall in March: Join us in creating concept cartoons!

For this month’s #scicommchall, let’s do concept cartoons!

The idea is that in a concept cartoon, the sketch of a situation is given, along with a couple of people who each give a statement explaining the situation. For example on the topic of whether a sundial can be used in both hemispheres, the characters state things like “yes, you just have to position it the other way round”, “yes, if you swap the numbers”, “no, because the sun moves in the opposite direction”, “it will work, but with a 12 hour offset”.

This can then be used to support discussions: Since many possible misconceptions are made explicit on the sketch itself, it is easy for people to identify with one of the answers and explain why they think that it is the correct one. It is also useful to use answers to argue against or to use them as a starting point for experiments or literature research, or to talk about your topic with an audience you suspect might harbour some of those misconceptions.

So let’s go: Show us an interesting question related to your science in a concept cartoon!