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Solar System Adventure

Science Activity

Writing a science fiction story is not only fun, but a great way to learn about science. For this activity, students learn about the solar system and our galaxy from World Wide Web sites and write a science fiction story based on what they discover.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Time online for your students
  • Paper and pencils
  • A printout of the story starters

WHAT TO DO

  1. Have your students learn about the Solar System by directing them to The Galaxy Page or the Inquirer's Guide To The Universe (see below). Encourage students to download and print helpful information.
    The Galaxy Page
    The Galaxy Page, maintained by the University of Arizona chapter of SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space), hosts a rich, well-organized collection of links to space-related sites. Resources include virtual tours, graphics, and information categorized under The Solar System, Astronomy, Aerospace, and Visions of the Future. Aspiring science fiction writers will find a treasure trove of ideas for future spaceship designs, orbital colonies, and more in the Visions of the Future section.
    Go to The Galaxy Page at www.seds.org.
    An Inquirer's Guide to the Universe
    Explore the outer reaches of space science fact and fiction in An Inquirer's Guide To The Universe, a fascinating interactive exhibit created by the Franklin Institute Science Museum. See the first golf shot on the moon or take a virtual trip to a blackhole via the Guide's Internet resources or investigate the Imaginary Planet Gallery where you can publish your own science fiction story. This site also offers tips for educators on how to use it's resources.
    Go to An Inquirer's Guide To The Universe at www.fi.edu.

  2. Distribute a copy of the story starters to each student. (You may want to add your own or brainstorm some with your students.)

  3. Introduce students to the characteristics of science fiction. Lead a class discussion to be sure students understand the characteristics.

  4. Have students write science fiction stories. If students have access to word processing or page layout software, encourage them to incorporate graphics from The Nine Planets and The Galaxy Page sites.
Story Starters

  • The dark side of the moon was especially cold that night. Or was it that day? In any case, the darkness made it hard to find . . .
  • I had been sailing on Saturn's rings for a relaxing two hours when I got a call on my spaceship's radio. . .
  • No one thought there was life on Mars, so when Dr. Murdoch found the . . .
  • The mining operation on Io started operating in April, 2150. Everything went well until May, 2163. That was when Bill and Nancy brought up a sample of molten lava. . . .
  • When I looked out the window of the spaceship, I saw a large object coming straight at us at a remarkable speed. The only thing to do was . . .
  • Talia Gizglo had prepared for this moment all her life. To be chosen commander of a Planet Cruiser was a great honor. Luckily the Satellian senators had not found out that she . . .

The Characteristics of Science Fiction

  • Science fiction is often based on scientific principles and technology.
  • Science fiction may make predictions about life in the future.
  • Science fiction often deals with aliens or with life on other worlds.
  • Science fiction can comment on important issues in society.

You may download, print and make copies of this page for use in your classroom, provided that you include the copyright notice shown below on all such copies.

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