Science fiction is a literary genre often overlooked in the classroom in favor of more traditional or classic works. This is slowly changing, however, as more instructors realize the creative worth of sci-fi novels and short stories. Renowned authors such as H.G. Wells, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. LeGuin are all gaining their rightful place in the literary pantheon.
Rewrite the Ending
Have your students create their own alternate ending for the novel or short story you've just completed. Encourage students to use identifiable characters and settings from the novel or story to make the ending plausible and believable. This exercise encourages close reading and analysis of the text, making it both a fun and challenging lesson for middle school students.
Fan fiction is writing that utilizes elements of the original story, such as characters, settings and events, to create a new or alternate story. For example, a piece of fan fiction might rewrite the Martian invasion from H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds" from the Martian perspective. The key to successful fan fiction is attention to textual detail and a healthy imagination. This lesson teaches students to use questions about the text--such as "Why did the Martians invade?"--as springboards for creative work, ideal for middle and high school students.
Illustrate a Scene
For a more visual approach, have students draw, paint or collage their favorite scene from a novel or story. Students may also illustrate their favorite character, the inside of a spaceship or underground lair, or the weapons used within a story. If you choose this activity, have a variety of brightly colored paints, paper and other collage materials (aluminum foil, pipe cleaners) available for student use. This lesson is great for younger elementary school students.
Get into the action by choosing scenes from a narrative for students to act out. Select scenes that may be funny or include important dialog. If the novel you're working with includes an epic battle scene, stage it outside on your school's playing field for a fun and exciting learning experience. Alternatively, you may break students up into groups and let them choose their own scenes. Students of any age will find enjoyment in this activity.
- galaxie in braun image by Herbie from Fotolia.com