An Elkhart teacher's comics may be making their way to your kids classroom soon. Yes, you read that right.
North Side Middle School math teacher Jim McClain's comic, Solution Squad, is helping kids learn math.
What could prime numbers and factorization have to do with running at superhuman speeds or flying?
Well, the characters with those powers are just moving along the x and y axes.
It's those small details that help turn points on a grid into something exciting.
Let's face it, math isn't always a fun time. Watching kids go through problem after problem and worksheet after worksheet, I'm sure you've seen some bored faces.
That's where Mr. McClain swoops in to save the day- turning boring problems into world-saving problems.
"The characters have names and powers that go along with the math concepts," McClain said. "And as long as students are following along in the adventure, the repeated use of their names and powers helps them retain that knowledge and understand what they're used for... Abscissa is a speedster who can run along the horizontal axis...her twin brother, Ordinate can fly and dive along the y axis...Absolutia who can raise temperature and lower temperature...La Calculadora, she knows how to do everything...Equality, she can duplicate the powers and abilities of one person at a time."
The comic follows that team, plus a new member, Radical, as they take on supervillains on the same levels of the nightmares you experienced heading into a big test.
"The Reverse Engineer mentally takes apart trains, so we have the dreaded train problem," McClain said. "We literally have a train leaving the station at 8 a.m. Going 45 miles per hour and another one perusing."
Since he made the first comic in 2013, McClain received praise from teachers across the country, and has even inspired fans to cosplay the characters he and his illustrators created. He would love to make more adventures than the single 144-paged novel out now, it just depends on how successful sales are.
"But I'm on the right track right now," McClain said. "I just made a deal with follet to distribute to school libraries and schools. So that will be a key to being successful financially, because doing this yourself and self-publishing, not the easiest thing in the world."
The comics are available at Barnes and Noble,
amazon.com/Jim-McClains-Solution-Squad-McClain/dp/0998942502 and solutionsquad.net/blog
The Solution Squad comic only covers prime numbers and factoring. But McClain says he would love to make more and explore new lessons and grade levels.