Creating Space Fiction
- Grade Level: Middle School, High School
- Subject Area: Language Arts and Science
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.
- Develop competence in writing fictional stories.
- Incorporate feedback from peers and teachers to revise and edit drafts.
- Develop competence in the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing.
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.
- Begin the sequence of writing science fiction stories by reviewing the criteria that outlined for what makes a literary piece an example of science fiction. Ask students to make any additions or changes to the criteria. Discuss with students that one of the crucial elements of science fiction is that it combines elements of scientific fact with elements of scientific speculation or fiction.
- Tell students about the writing assignment; that they are going to create a work of science fiction where they blend some of the facts that they found with elements of fiction and imagination. Encourage students to include a certain number of the scientific facts they found in their stories.
- Ask students to begin their pre-writing activities by:
- Reviewing the scientific facts that they gathered.
- Visiting the Franklin Institute's "Imaginary Planet Gallery" (see our list Internet Resources below). Students may also create an imaginary world of their own to use as the basis for their story. Students should brainstorm a list of aspects about the imaginary planets they see (or create). For example, students should create a brief outline of what the climate is like, what sort of food is available, and what sorts of living organisms exist on the planet.
- Allow students time to create rough drafts of their stories; this may take a couple of class periods or be assigned as homework. Have students work in pairs to edit their rough drafts and create final copies of their science fiction stories.
- You may choose to have students enter their final drafts into the Franklin Institute's "Space Story Studios" (see our list of Internet resources below).
- Space Science Story Studios
This is writing studio established by the Franklin Institute. The site provides Web forms that students can use to file their science fiction stories they create using the museum's imaginary planets. Each planet has its own writing studio. Stories are posted to the exhibit's "Space Story Portfolio."
- Space Story Portfolio
The Franklin Institute's collection of stories that visitors have created after visiting the "An Inquirer's Guide to the Universe" exhibit.
- An Inquirer's Guide to the Universe
This exhibit provides the basis for this unit and supplies resources on space fact and fiction.
Back to Exploring Space Fact and Fiction Unit Lesson Plans