I remember watching Star Trek as a kid and being amazed by their cool gadgets, but never thought I’d ever seem them, for real, in my lifetime. I even remember playing with my brother’s “communicators” (aka walkie talkies, which I still have, shhhh….) pretending I was talking with someone on a distant planet.
Fast forward 40ish years, and we’ve already progressed past the flip-phone. Now, even iPad technology is old news. And then there’s Dick Tracy’s video watch, man-made satellites, hoverboards, and even antidepressants. What will be next? Well, why not invent something? Your outrageous ideas today could be our reality tomorrow.
How to Start: Do your kiddos know what science fiction is? What about the definition of technology? Research and discuss them as a family. Maybe even read a science fiction book, or watch a show or movie. Then brainstorm some cool ideas they would like to see in the future. Do they want to develop a new gadget? A new program? A medicine?
What to do next: Write a story. Design a future world. How will your new idea be part of this world? Who are your characters? What will happen in your story?
Expand it: How can you bring in other content areas?
- Science: What science area(s) can you integrate into your story? How can you relate this area(s) to your new idea?
- Technology: Research your new idea. Is there current technology related to it? Is there evidence that it can work?
- Engineering: How will your new idea be designed or built? What will the people in your story need to know in order to design or build it? Remember that there are many different types of engineers.
- Arts: Illustrate your story. Make sure you include illustrations of your new idea. Will you need a blueprint? Will it require chemical equations?
- Math: What type of math would you need to know in order to design and explain your new idea?
Most of today’s resources focus on writing, including practicing writing, realistic fiction and science fiction.
- The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering list of types of engineering: https://www.nacme.org/types-of-engineering
- Technology as explained by Encyclopedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/technology/technology
- A 30 day writing challenge: https://www.summitwriting.net/pages/30-day-writing-challenge
- Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/
- There are great realistic fiction resources for multiple levels, just do a search for “realistic fiction” and the grade level you are looking for.
- PBS video introduction to science fiction:
- Introducing to Science Fiction (grades 6-12): https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/introducing-science-fiction/
- Star Trek at 50: Science Fiction or Science Fact? (grades 3-8): https://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/star-trek/star-trek-at-50-science-fiction-or-science-fact/
- Read Write Think by National Council of Teachers of English: http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/
- I’ve led you to their “Parent & Afterschool Resources” page.
- The “Tips & How-To’s” section has grade related resources for writing stories, but all sections have something useful.
- Education.com resources for writing fiction: https://www.education.com/lesson-plans/?q=science%20fiction
- There are so many useful resources here. I’ve provided a direct link to a “science fiction” search, but you can use the toolbar at the left to search by subject and grade.