Science Fiction Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to teach your students about the genre of science fiction. Students start off watching a video lesson that explains characteristics of science fiction, key authors and exemplary work. Finish strong with an application activity.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define 'science fiction'
  • explain the characteristics of science fiction
  • discuss and identify important authors and work of science fiction


1 hour


  • Science fiction books, enough for each group to have two
  • Science fiction short stories, enough for each group to have one
  • Copies of the texts listed in this lesson
  • Copies of the lesson quiz, one for each student
  • Chart paper and markers, one for each small group

Key Vocabulary

  • Science fiction/sci-fi
  • Jules Verne
  • Romanticism
  • Anachronism
  • Alien societies
  • Social commentary
  • Mary Shelly
  • H.G. Wells
  • Isaac Asimov
  • Orson Scott Card

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language of a court opinion differs from that of a newspaper).

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1

Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.9-10.6

Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.


  • Divide students into small groups and distribute two science fiction books and one science fiction short story to each. Instruct groups to look through the samples and create a list of common features.
  • List and discuss features as a whole group, then tell students they will be learning all about the genre of science fiction.
  • Start the lesson video What is Science Fiction? - Definition, Characteristics, Books & Authors.
  • Pause at 1:32 and ask:
    • Why is science fiction difficult to define?
    • What is science fiction?
    • Why is Jules Verne considered the 'father of science fiction?' Do you agree?
    • Where else do we see the science fiction genre?
  • Have students brainstorm examples of science fiction found in mainstream media, discuss briefly, then resume the lesson video.
  • Pause at 1:47. Have students divide their notebooks into four sections. Each section will be dedicated to one of the characteristics of science fiction. Instruct students to take notes for each section as the video plays.
  • Restart the video and pause after each characteristic to make sure students have necessary notes.
  • Pause at 3:54 and discuss:
    • How does Romanticism appear in science fiction?
    • What are some examples of anachronism?
    • Why do authors include alien features in science fiction?
    • Do you think science fiction is an appropriate platform for social commentary? Explain.
  • Resume the lesson and pause at 6:40.
  • Give each group a copy of one of the texts listed in the video and allow them to observe. Use the guiding discussion questions:
    • Which characteristics do these books have?
    • What was the author's purpose in writing these books?
    • Why are these texts considered science fiction?
  • Play the Lesson Summary and answer any remaining questions.

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