Teaching science with science fiction
The focus of this action research project was to determine how using science fiction reading material could impact student learning at the high school level. Specifically, will using science fiction increase levels of student engagement, reinforce science content learned in class, increase science literacy skills, and finally to determine if there will be an increased interest in science related careers. Students were introduced to science fiction reading material along with regular content. The methodology continues with the students collaborating and developing their literacy skills using short pieces of science fiction with writing prompts and research questions. The final portion of the treatment consisted of the students reading a science fiction book, researching the science concepts within the text, then presenting the project to their peers. The data analysis incorporated several pieces of quantitative and qualitative evidence. These include student pre and post attitudinal surveys, student work samples of written responses, personal interviews, and rubric based presentations. The data was collected from three different classes; Earth Science (N=8), Biology (N=10) and Chemistry (N=8). The data revealed the lower level Earth Science had the most decreases in interest for science reading and pursuing careers in science, as opposed to the Biology and Chemistry classes showing increases in interest in both areas. All of the classes demonstrated increases in abilities for science research and performance on the student presentations indicate science literacy increased as well. Overall there was a positive response from students with regards to levels of engagement and achievement.