Hi friends! I’m so pleased to present another Teacher With Magic! This is a fun exploration of how to blend fantasy and science in the classroom! A big thank you to Marie for her participation.
And remember, if you would like to participate in this informal survey, you can click here for the original form. Thank you, and happy teaching!
Name: Marie Prosser
I teach high school science – biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, earth science, etc.
Which Fantasy texts do you like to use in your classroom? Why did you use these particular texts?:
This past year, I used The Hobbit when discussing erosion in Earth Science, and I used “The Walrus and the Carpenter” from Alice in Wonderland when discussing oysters in the Chesapeake Bay in Environmental Science. In the past, I have used family trees from The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter when discussing genetic inheritance patterns in biology (blond hair in hobbits, magical ability in wizards). I also use an episode from the anime Fullmetal Alchemist to teach the concept of conservation of mass in chemistry. These are all texts I enjoy, so I share them with the students in case they might enjoy them, too.
How do you use these Fantasy texts in your classroom?:
I like to use them for classwork/class discussions. I think it throws students to see something like this out of context, so I don’t like assigning it for homework or using it on a quiz. It’s more fun and less frustrating for them if there is some guidance provided as to why we are using something ‘fake’ or made up in science class. It helps them apply concepts we are learning in class by practicing identifying those processes in a subcreated world.
What were some of the results? What worked, and what didn’t work?:
Handing the students a worksheet with problems without explanation tends to have poor results in any situation, but especially when it’s something out of the ordinary. Working through examples as a class, and letting them work together on the assignment tends to work better for this type of activity.
How did using these texts help student engagement? Did you find that your students made stronger connections with the subject material through your chosen fantasy texts?:
Some did. Some found it fun, while others found it confusing or frustrating. Some find reading difficult, so they need to have others read the passages aloud. It’s something different, which helps with engagement.