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Employing Science Fiction to Increase Literacy in the Science Classroom

The 2004 report Reading at Risk, by the National Endowment for the Arts, suggests that our nation is losing its ability to critically engage literature. The report, documents an alarming decline in the reading habits of Americans in all demographic groups. These trends are alarming for educators as reading ability and literacy are essential components of a rigorous education. Reading should not however be limited to traditional English or literature courses as reading in all disciplines provides content specific skills that will help students become better critical thinkers.  The common core science literacy standards and the national science education standards propose a set of skills that will foster literacy in the science classroom.  Scientific literacy is an indispensible intellectual ability in a world that is increasingly defined by scientific discoveries and technological innovation. In the science classroom, students must be able to read texts (of all genres), evaluate the science that informs those texts, engage in substantive discussions that explore the impact of science on society, and take critical stances on the science - technology that informs and continually transforms their lives. 


This unit centers on the use of SF texts to foster scientific literacy in the science classroom.   SF texts provide a challenging, engaging, and educative forum in which to teach scientific literacy skills. Since the unit will explore several historical SF texts, students will also be able to learn how science theories have changed over time, and how the speculations of the past have become science “facts” of today. The unit will teach students how to analyze all forms of SF texts, critique the society in which the text was written and write an original SF text.

Cristobal Carambo

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