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Informal Science

Science through fiction and fantasy

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Juliana Texley Juliana Texley 1480 Points

Several NSTA folks had the great pleasure of representing the association at Dragoncon last week. Over 70,000 people attended, and we had so many great conversations. Science fiction and fantasy addicts are deeply involved with science--and want to know more about the resources of NSTA. Do you use fiction and fantasy to motivate learners? Ideas?

Crystal Phelps Crystal Phelps 20 Points

Excellent question! Just last week I heard several students talking about radioactive spiders and turning into spiderman, so I think it could be a great tool to connect and engage students. I'm an informal educator based with a parks system, and sometimes people try to have themed topics for programs, which can be interesting but can also be a bit gimmicky. There was a mutants and marvels one for October. Linkages to sci-fi and space are clear. For zombies, I'm thinking of several types of parasitic fungi that attack insects and take over their brains and turn them into spore dispersal units. Hmm, I'm on an insect kick- spiders that mimic ants are an absolute trip, Spiderman and Antman right there! I had to do theme weeks at a camp where I taught nature programs, and one theme was Hollywood. I struggled with that, but did Batman and Robin (bats and robins), A Bug's Life (insects), Spiderman (spiders), and Transformers (butterflies and metamorphosis). A kid pointed out I should have done turtles for Ninja Turtles. I used the movies as a jumping off point into the topic. Thinking about it, there were a lot of kids super into The Hunger Games, I could have talked about survival mechanisms of different animals and plants.

Amy Thomas Amy Thomas 485 Points

Earlier this year my class studied animals that have special defense mechanisms.  After the class learned about these creatures for a science lesson, each student chose one creature to write a story about.  They had to do a creative writing where they chose a defense mechanism and had to make up any story pretending they had that special defense.  It was so much fun to see the student get excited to write.  They were all so creative and so proud of the stories they came up with!

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