ISG’s Shane Campbell-Staton Uses Superheroes To Help Students Sift Fact From Fiction

Learning to analyze fact and fiction can be insightful and fun in the classroom, and all it takes is an innovative approach and creative tools. For ISG Professor Shane Campbell-Staton, his tools are comic books. In his winter quarter course “Biology of Superheroes”, Campbell-Staton challenges his students to develop their perspective on evolutionary biology, as he explores comic book stories of superheroes.

Image Credit, Reed Hutchinson/UCLA
Image Credit, Reed Hutchinson/UCLA


“‘Science fiction and comic books are a really good way of approaching classic questions in biology from a different angle,’ said Campbell-Staton, a UCLA assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, whose research focuses on how reptiles and other animal species adapt to extreme environments, and the physiology, biology and evolution behind that process. ‘Comic books offer a fantastical look at the same concepts.’

‘Regardless of whether these students go into medicine, research, politics, or other fields, my job is to help them sift fact from fiction,’ Campbell-Staton said. ‘If you can sift fact from fiction in Spider-Man, that is a training ground for asking questions about what is true, what is not, and how to tell one from the other when it comes to complex ideas they will confront later in their lives’.

His students agree.”

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