The English Classroom

A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR PRESERVICE AND GRADUATE TEACHERS

Teaching…Science Fiction and Issac Asimov

AITSL STANDARDS: 2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.


The Situation

  • You need to introduce Science Fiction, but are unsure of where to start

The Solution

  • Introduce Issac Asimov’s The Fun They Had to students and explore how technology might change over time.
  • Present thought-provoking questions to engage students in the changes of technology.

When introducing science fiction to students, you need to connect students current content knowledge with a provocative idea. One day, I was wondering about technology that would terrify people 1000 years ago. iPhones? Computers? Cars? The question gets students wondering about the possibilities of technology, which is a significant part of the Science Fiction genre. Start, by showing students this slide:

After collating these ideas on the whiteboard and having a solid discussion, move onto the learning intentions. The focus of this class is to read The Fun They Had, by Issac Asimov. This story explores a futuristic classroom where teachers are now robots and books are non-existent.

Provide students with a brief snapshot of the Science Fiction genre. You can look at the broad types of science fiction: hard-science and soft-science fiction, respectively. This will allow students to understand the speculative nature of science fiction which is grounded in fact, along with other forms that focus on human behaviour and interaction.

Following from your introduction of Science Fiction, you are ready for another provocative discussion. What experiences in 2021 will be lost due to technology in the future? This question continues to encourage students to think about the way that technology has changed and will continue to change in the future. You could discuss how reading a book might solely take place on a device in the future or raise the question whether travelling is even necessary due to eventual advances in virtual reality.

Introduce the man, the myth, Isaac Asimov. Highlight his prolific writing ability and his curiosity about the world. He wrote about everything.

From here, you are ready to jump into the story itself. When student annotate the text, identify and make notes aout the following:

  • Margie’s reaction to the book.
  • Margie’s feeling about technology.
  • How different technology is in the story compared to the past.

From there, students have a number of levelled questions to complete in response to the text.

As a follow up task, students can complete the following:

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