Monday, December 7, 2015

Putting the SCIENCE in Science Fiction

As you might know, I teach 9th and 10th graders bio/chem. I love it. Science is AWESOME. Doing experiments and seeing the results first had in the classroom is how science should be taught. That being said, I also obviously love to read. I sponsor the high school book club at my school. So I've been trying to meld the two together.

I've been looking for some science fiction to read in my 9th or 10th grade bio/chem classes. Many of the science fiction I read isn't based on science or is so minimally that I wouldn't be able to connect it with my class. Or the book is so long that there would be no way we'd be able to fit it in to the unit/curriculum.

At first I was thinking THE MARTIAN, but there's no real unit it could be tied to, besides the scientific method, which is the shortest unit. It also seemed a bit of an instruction manual and I didn't think it would engage all my students.

The next I was thinking of was FEVER 1793, which is set in Philadelphia (where I teach, so that would be awesome), might be a good jumping off point for bacteria and epidemics. But upon reading it, the reading level is about 5th grade (so not good for 10th graders) and again doesn't have that much science in it. I think they'd be too bored and not understanding why we'd read this in a science class. It would've been a good interdisciplinary book for a cross between social studies and science if it weren't such a low reading level.

This led me to THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN which I read a million years ago. I don't quite remember how much science is in it, so I got it out of the library to reread.

Do you have any suggestions? Any books that you've read that are a good cross between science and an awesome read (and isn't too long)? Let me know because right now I'm looking for anything bio or chem related!

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