Research: A Product of the Curious Mind How do we encourage students to breach the divide between nonfiction and fiction in order to pursue research into a topic of personal interest?

Elizabeth Ashley Walker, Language Arts, Randolph Middle School

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


How often do we isolate subject areas thinking that science should stay in science class and English should stay in English class? In this unit, I plan to teach that science class and English class do not need to work independently, but rather can function in a beneficial way for both subjects.

This unit focuses on the concept of ethical dilemmas. Ethical dilemmas are explored through research into the scientific community and through the concepts of individualized creation and reflection. This unit encourages students to explore real scientific research that has been taken from a science fiction novel, The Uglies. In this novel, sixteen-year-olds undergo extensive plastic surgery in a futuristic world to achieve the ideal standard of beauty. We will hold discussions about if beauty is a scientific topic or personal preference. We will also discuss whether beauty or friendship is more important. These thought provoking questions will lead to discussions about current scientific research and the ethical dilemmas that scientists face every day. Students will end the unit by self-selecting a current ethical dilemma presented in today’s research, and choosing a side to prove in a paper.