_ hours to read the lesson and “All Summer in a Day”
copy of Ray Bradbury’s short story “All Summer
in a Day” for each student in your class to read
Access to the Internet/Computer Lab
Students will read the short story “All
Summer in a Day” by the famous science fiction
author Ray Bradbury. The class will then identify which
literary aspects and facets of the story make it science
fiction and which could be part of a regular short
story. Class discussions will focus on seeing how science
fiction is a literary medium that explores the human
condition and provides a forum for examining the long-range
outcomes of actions and policies of present societies.
To reinforce this, the students will spend time in
the computer lab visiting web sites with interviews
of science fiction writers to read about their approach
to writing and their concerns that go beyond literature.
Purpose – This
is the Engage Lesson. Students will identify what sets
science fiction apart from
other genres and what it has in common with the body
of literature as a whole.
Students will be able to:
1. Read a science fiction short story with understanding.
2. Identify which aspects of the story set it apart as science fiction.
3. Make connections between science fiction and other genres of literature.
4. Identify the approach to writing and individual concerns various authors
Strand 1: Concept 6: Comprehension Strategies
PO 4. Connect information and events in text to experience and to related text
Strand 2: Concept 1: Elements of Literature
PO 1. Analyze the author’s use of literary elements
(moral lesson, meaning, message, view or
comment on life),
of view (e.g., first vs.third, limited vs.
(qualities, motives, actions, thoughts, dialogue,
(time of day or year, historical period,
place, situation), and
(exposition, major and minor conflicts, rising
Strand 2: Concept 2: Functional Text
PO 2. Synthesize information from multiple
sources to draw conclusions.
An appreciation for imaginative writing
and science fiction
http://www.outsidein.co.uk/sadinfo.htm (Information on Seasonal Affective
http://www.davidbrin.com/livingplanet.html (David Brin’s official web
http://www.adherents.com/adh_sf.html (Famous Science Fiction/Fantasy Authors-
excellent list with information about each author and their best known works)
1. Begin the class by asking your students what science fiction
they have read, watched on television, or seen at the
movies. There is a lot of science fiction in the media
and even somebody who does not particularly like it
has most probably seen at least one television show
or movie that qualifies as sci fi. Ask your students
what attracted them to what they have read or seen.
Some may enjoy the strong scientific content of the
genre while others may be attracted to the free reign
imagination is given or the prophetic quality of the
2. Tell the students that they are going to read a short story
by one of the most recognizable names in science fiction, Ray
Bradbury. Even if some of the students have read “All
Summer in a Day,” ask them to read it a second time.
As they read, ask the students to write down what specifically
they can find in the story that makes it science fiction. Ask
them to use their own criteria and these will be discussed
later on. Ask them to determine if the story is totally fantastic.
If it isn’t, ask them to write down what aspects of our
present reality this story explores. Finally, are there any
warnings or is there a moral commentary in the story?
3. Give the students time to read the story and record their
4. There should be time after reading to hold the class discussion
as “All Summer in a Day” is a rather short story.
The students should be able to easily point out that the science
fiction aspects of the story are found in the setting, the
futuristic time period and the location of the action on Venus.
However, there are many correlations to our present experiences.
The classroom dynamics that involve jealousy and the difficulty
of a new child to fit in could easily take place anywhere.
The individual who possesses a special knowledge and is ostracized
for having it also rings true. On a deep level, doesn’t
every person feel out of place or alone no matter how others
see them? SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is likewise a real
condition that affects numerous individuals in northern climates
during the months that lack strong sunlight. Finally, ex-patriots
living in difficult conditions for high pay is still taking
place in the world. This discussion could take place at the
end of the first day or on the second day before using the
In the computer lab ask the students to look up science
fiction authors and see if they can find interviews
these people have done in which they talk about their concerns
for the environment, the fragile ecosystems of earth, or
the impact that humanity is having on the earth. If the
cannot find these specific concerns, ask them what they found
as motivators for the writers. What draws authors to science
fiction? Do some authors write both science fiction and other
types of literature? This is a time for the students to browse
in the world of sci fi to learn more about it, to see if
its authors fall into the stereotypes in which we put
find out about new authors and books for those students who
are already sci fi aficionados. An interesting web site to
start with is David Brin’s official web site, http://www.davidbrin.com/livingplanet.html.
He wrote The Postman among other novels and he deals with
6. Leave ten to fifteen minutes at the end of the class for
the students to share their discoveries with their classmates
and you. You may wish to make a list of web sites that the
students found to be very interesting or full of environmental
health or energy issue information. Hopefully your class
will have a range of interests in it, with some students
much about science fiction while others may be finding out
for the first time that science fiction isn’t just about “weird
stuff.” Try to emphasize with the students the diversity
that can be found in the realm of science fiction and openness
of the genre.
7. Emphasize with the students the diversity that can be found in the realm
of science fiction and the imaginativeness of the genre. Ask those who
think that they could not possibly find science fiction to be enjoyable
or worthwhile to keep an open mind.
There are two class discussions in this lesson that
are indicators of how engaged the students are with the
material of this lesson. The quality of the students’ answers
in these discussions can be used to assess how well they
understand the material. The students also have written
work from the first part of the lesson. The quantity
and quality of their answers can be used to determine
how carefully they read “All Summer in a Day” and
how thoughtfully they analyzed the story.
Ask the students to bring in a science fiction short story to read in tomorrow’s
class. For those students who enjoy science fiction or have read a lot of it
already, ask if they can bring in their favorite stories for others to read or
a list of what they consider to be the best. If a student is presently reading
a science fiction novel, he or she may bring that in to read in class, but make
them aware of the fact that they will be asked to write a paper on the book in
the Apply Lesson (which is only three days away).