Science Fiction Unit

Discussion in 'Education and Academia' started by Jacen McCullough, Sep 9, 2007.

  1. Jacen McCullough

    Nov 23, 1998
    Hey folks. I inherited a 10th grade English class about a week before the school year began (which is interesting, because I've never taught 10th grade English before). The curriculum guide, honestly, sucks. All it does is have the students work with the same exact skills that they did over and over again last year. I didn't really see much point in teaching the same stuff to the same kids (half of my 10th grade students were in my 9th grade class last year). As such, I've been re-organizing some things.

    There is a decent amount of science fiction in the anthology ("There Will Come Soft Rains" among others). I also have access to F451. I decided that it would be neat to teach a science fiction unit. I have some things I've already brought together in terms of stories and what not, but I was wondering if anyone has ever taught a SF course before. I'm a little unsure of the skills I should be teaching with these SF stories. Should I go with a thematic approach? A defined approach (looking at the different types of SF)? A socio-political approach? I want to avoid the monotonous, "read this and I'll quiz you on what you read." Any ideas are welcome.

    PS: I would also love to get some SF poetry for the unit if anyone knows of anything worthwhile.

  2. Twenty26Six

    Twenty26Six Feeling Sheepish...

    Jan 2, 2004
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not sure if you want book recommendations.

    Robert A. Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy

    The story centers around a young boy bought from slavery and raised by a homeless old man. Because the boy does not remember his upbringing, he is forced to learn the world as it is shown to him. He meets many different races and cultures. It's a good book to teach tolerance of different cultures and/or examining your own beliefs.

    Also, Heinlein uses Sci-fi to examine the underlying political, social, and cultural relationships in real life. Basically, by describing in detail the living practices of his characters, he helps the reader take a closer examination of the same things in their own lives. There's even a character who happens to be an anthropologist.

    My favorite use of sci-fi would be to defamiliarize human nature and examine it through strange and different surroundings. I know that's what I'd base my stuff on.
  3. RayWhitney

    RayWhitney Member

    Jun 23, 2005
    Laurel, MD
    Check your PM.

    "Asimov on Science Fiction" is an invaluable resource.

    ISBN 0-586-05840-0
  4. uclacarlos

    uclacarlos Member+

    Aug 10, 2003
    east coast
    FC Barcelona
    Nat'l Team:
    For an advanced student, after the unit you can have them do a paper on Junot Diaz' first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which is a sort of science fiction meets hip-hop, urban ethnic America.

    From the author of Drown.

    Ooops. I forgot. This is high school. He might be too racy for the age group. BUT... if you've got a kid or 2 for whom it might be a great project (and not necessarily an advanced student), maybe you can talk the parents into giving permission to read. In that case, I'd discuss it w/ the parents before mentioning it to the kid. No need to get his/her hopes up.

    Good luck!
  5. irvine

    irvine Member

    Nov 24, 1998
    S. Portland, ME

    I've taught SF courses. Drop me a line.

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