Upward Bound Math and Science, a federally funded initiative, aims to persuade U.S. high schoolers to become college STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors. The program attempts this persuasion by developing students’ content and procedural knowledge so that students may succeed in high school and college STEM courses. Primary focus on knowledge acquisition, however, may cause missed opportunities to engage the imaginative dimensions of students’ science identities and students’ senses of wonder for science. In this reflective essay, I describe a science fiction prototyping assignment that meets the knowledge-based objectives of the Writing Skills course in a five-week Upward Bound summer program at one Eastern U.S. public university and, at the same time, prompts students to perform science identities by writing narrative genres that echo students’ wonder-at attitudes toward science. This assignment is informed by science educator and theorist Yannis Hadzigeorgiou’s argument that imagination should be at the center of science education, as well as by Etienne Wenger’s communities-of-practice framework that describes imagination as one key way of forging belonging in society. By thinking about how future innovations may impact future families through the activity of composing a narrative and an informative genre, students communicate understanding and wonder for science to disciplinary and general audiences, with benefits for their attitudes toward and identities related to science.

Author/Artist Bio

Justin Nicholes' research explores the role writing plays in constructing disciplinary identities, enhancing disciplinary learning, and supporting retention efforts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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