Students will have two days to create the framework of their
short story. As they work on one aspect of the story
(such as characters) they may make connections or see
new plot twists that may cause them to redo an aspect
that they have already worked out. Tell them that going
back and forth among worksheets and re-writing ideas
is all part of the process.
A logical place to begin is with the setting: when in
the future this story
takes place and where (of course, extra-terrestrial
locations are acceptable!) Tied to this is the clean form
of energy that is being used to make life possible in
2. Next look at plot. What is going to happen in the story?
One essential component in the story will be the look back
to the bad old days. In this flashback the students/writers
will recount how horrible life was when pollution, disease,
war over resources, etc., was running rampant due to problems
with a conventional form of energy. They will also need to
tell what was the final straw which convinced/forced/enabled
society to seek an alternative form of energy production.
3. Now is an appropriate time to flesh out the story with
its characters. Who will make the events of the story take
Here the students/authors can be as imaginative as they wish.
Will all the characters be human? Who are the main characters
and who are the minor characters? The major characters need
to be described in some detail. Designate what the functions
are for the minor characters. Since the role of minor characters
is to either move the plot forward or to reveal some sort
of information crucial to the unfolding of the story, what
the function of each of the minor characters be?
4. Finally a theme must be decided upon. The tone of these
short stories needs to be hopeful; they are a look at what
mankind can do to improve life, how science has the power
to create a better future, how our future is full of hope,
change, good sound government, sustainable environmental
policies, and an improvement in the state of environmental
5. There are other parameters that you may also wish to establish
at this time with your students such as the due date, the
length of the story, whether the rough draft needs to be
along with the final copy, the size and style of font used,
If time allows have a short class discussion about the creative sticking points
and forms of clean energy that the students will be using in their stories
and how they envision the positive impact on the environment and society
as a whole. What are the environmental health issues that they will be
using in their stories? Are there any creative sticking points? Can the
students come up with any ideas to help those who are having problems
pulling their ideas together?
There are three forms provided in this lesson that the
students will need to fill out to establish the framework
for their short stories. These should be checked in class
as the students work. Assessing these forms in class
gives you the opportunity to provide the students with
immediate feedback and for the students to bounce ideas
off of you. Students should be encouraged to flesh out
their ideas as much as possible, even if all of what
they propose does not make its way into the final version
of the story.
If the students have not been able to complete the work for this lesson in the
two class periods provided they need to finish up their story outlines
for homework. When they come to class on the following day they will
need to be ready to begin writing their actual story.