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L. A. Lebofsky, N. R. Lebofsky (University of Arizona)
At the University of Arizona, all non-science majors are required to take two Tier 1 and one Tier 2 General Education science classes. These are the only science classes that most of these students will take at the University. This includes all future K-8 certified teachers --- our future teachers of science.
Improving reading comprehension in science and improving writing skills are two of the main requirements of the General Education classes. For my 150 -- 300 students (1 -- 2 classes per semester) I have chosen to use science fiction stories to meet part of these requirements. This assignment provides for assessment of students' writing in several ways:
\bullet As an alternative assessment: connecting the course material to what they have read.
\bullet As an alternative assessment: student knowledge of science and technology in general.
This assignment also provides for assessment of their comprehension of the authors' application of science fact:
\bullet Making students aware of how our science knowledge and technology have changed in the years since these books were written (30 -- 140 years ago).
Students are required to turn in a short draft version of the assignment about halfway through the semester. They receive feedback on their format (i.e., following directions), appropriateness of chosen topics, spelling, grammar, etc.
Books are chosen at a variety of reading levels to accommodate a range of proficiencies, including choices appropriate for students with limited proficiency in English and those with learning disabilities. The books that we are presently using and examples of student writing will be displayed.
This work was supported in part with a grant from the Department of Education (AzTEC).
If the author provided an email address or URL for general inquiries,
it is as follows:
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.