- Grade level: Middle School, High School
- Subject Area: Language Arts, Science
Students conduct research on space science and fiction at the Franklin Institute's exhibition "An Inquirer's Guide to the Universe." After completing their research, students will compose science fiction stories about imaginary planets. Students' stories will incorporate elements of fact and fiction that they gather during their research. Students may choose to publish their stories through the museum's on-line story studios.
- Develop competence in writing fictional stories.
- Gather and use information for research purposes.
- Incorporate feedback from peers and teachers to revise and edit drafts.
- Develop competence in the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing.
- Develop the skills to allow them to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
- Understand the place of the earth in the solar system.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as a World Wide Web browser. In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: None.
- Special software requirements: None.
- Internet access: A high-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network) connection.
Unit Lesson Plans
- Lesson One: Exploring Space Fact. Students visit Websites to conduct research on facts about space and space exploration.
- Lesson Two: Exploring Space Fiction. Students visit Websites with information on space fiction and collect information for their stories.
- Lesson Three: Creating Space Fiction. Students synthesize aspects of the information that they gathered in the previous two lessons to create stories about imaginary planets. They may choose to publish their works at the Franklin Institute's story studios.
Relation to Standards
We have drawn upon the Mid-Continent Writing Standards and the National Science Education Standards in support of this unit.
One Computer versus Many
The plans for this unit are tailored to fit teaching situations where students have access to several computers with an Internet connection. To accommodate classrooms that do not have access to a computer lab with full Internet connections, students can work in research groups to explore Internet sites and conduct their research.
If you have only one computer with Internet access, you may choose to do one of the following:
- If you have the technology, you may hook up the computer to a TV monitor or LCD projector. This will allow the whole class to see sites in the preliminary stages when students are exploring sites created by other children.
- You may choose to have students take turns working in groups using the computer with Internet access.
- You may also download files from the Internet and save them on a disk. Now you can transfer the files you saved on a disk to the other non-Internet computers. Installing copies of your Web browser on all non-Internet computers will allow you to view the pages you saved to a disk. This will not allow students to explore hyper-links, but they will be able to access and view the information by opening each file with the Web browser.