- Identify the elements of science fiction literature.
- Write a science fiction story using real and exaggerated science.
- Science texts, magazines, encyclopedias or other resources that contain information about current scientific inventions or breakthroughs
- Computer with Internet access (optional)
- Writing paper
- Pencils and erasers
- Drawing paper
- Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- Have students watch Discovering Language Arts: Intermediate Fiction to learn about the science fiction genre and about character and plot development. Then talk about writing fiction; ask students: What is fiction? How does fiction differ from other kinds of writing? What are some important elements in fiction? What are the three main components of plot?
- Then discuss the science fiction genre. Using the example provided in the program, Jules Verneís 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, dissect the elements of science fiction. Ask students: What is science fiction? What are the necessary elements of science fiction? Why is it important that real and exaggerated science be used? How does science fiction resemble other types of fiction?
Remind students that although the science and fantasy are important in science fiction, it is still necessary to develop solid characters and maintain a plot when writing science fiction. Ask students what they think makes 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea interesting and exciting.
- Tell students that they are going to write science fiction. First they will think about what is going on in science today. Ask students to provide examples of some discoveries or inventions. Using one as an example, create a sci-fi story plot. What is the real scientific information we know about this discovery or invention? How could we exaggerate the information? Write ideas on the board or on a piece of chart paper. Then ask students to brainstorm about plot and characters that could work with the ideas. Help them create characters by asking them questions about who might be interested or involved with this discovery or invention. Then, write conflicts, climax, and resolution for a possible plot.
- Explain to students that they will use newspapers, magazines, and the Internet to research information about real science. They will use their information to write their own sci-fi story. Stories must include real and exaggerated science; follow a three-part plot with a conflict, climax, and resolution; and feature at least two well-developed characters. The stories must be at least two pages long and include at least one illustration. The following Web sites may be helpful for research:
- Give students time to work on their stories and illustrations in class and as homework if necessary. Remind students to think about the elements of science fiction, as well as plot and character development.
- When students have finished, divide them into groups of three or four, and have each student read a story aloud to the group. Have the groups discuss the stories, starting with these questions: What did students like about the stories? Do they think the story fit the science fiction genre? Why or why not?
- Once all stories have been discussed, hold a class discussion on the process of writing science fiction. Ask students these questions: Was it difficult to write a story that was believable and fantastic? Do they think any of the inventions, discoveries, or creations of their peers might be realized in the future? If so, which ones? What did they like about writing or reading science fiction?
- Display the stories with their illustrations in the classroom so that students may read them during their free time.
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Use the following three-point rubric to evaluate students' work during this lesson.
3 points: Students were able to easily and clearly identify the elements of science fiction literature without assistance; wrote creative, unique stories that used real and exaggerated science and addressed all the stated criteria.
2 points: Students were able to generally identify the elements of science fiction literature with little assistance; wrote somewhat creative, unique science fiction stories that that used real and exaggerated science and addressed most of the stated criteria.
1 point: Students were unable or unwilling to identify the elements of science fiction literature without a great deal of assistance; and wrote incomplete or incoherent science fiction stories that used neither real nor exaggerated science and addressed little of the stated criteria.
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Definition:A person portrayed in an artistic piece, such as a drama or novel
Context:Characters come to life through the authorís depiction of their words, actions, thoughts, and feelings.
Definition:To represent as greater than is actually the case; overstate; stretch the truth
Context:Exaggerated science is an element found in science fiction.
Definition:A category of artistic composition, as in music or literature, marked by a distinctive style, form, or content
Context:Walk down the aisles at any bookstore or library to see that literature encompasses many genres.
Definition:A fictional prose narrative of considerable length, typically having a plot that is unfolded by the actions, speech, and thoughts of the characters
Context:Writer Jules Verne is considered a pioneer of the science fiction novel.
Definition:The pattern of events or main story in a narrative or drama
Context:The many conflicts inLes Miserablesrevolve around the plot.
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Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL)
McREL's Content Knowledge: A Compendium of Standards and Benchmarks for K-12 Education addresses 14 content areas. To view the standards and benchmarks, visitwww.mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp.
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
- Language Arts ? Reading: Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process; Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts
- Language Arts ? Writing: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process; Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing; Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions
- Language Arts ? Viewing: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media
The National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association have developed national standards to provide guidelines for teaching the English language arts. To view the standards online, go towww.ncte.org/about/over/standards/110846.htm
This lesson plan addresses the following English standards:
- Students use spoken, written and visual language to accomplish their own purposes
- Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes
- Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts
- Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities
- Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works
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