Subject: English / Language Arts, Science
Category: Teach the Future Materials
Keywords: brain, common core, evidence, inference, informational text, main idea, nonfiction, point of view, technology, vocabulary, writing
"Given that mankind was the first intelligent organism to evolve on this planet...We shouldn't expect version one of humans to be the final version, any more than we should have expected the Model T to be the fastest car ever built." -- Michael Anissimov
Imagine we could do something to our brains to make them work better. Do you think that would be mostly a good thing or a bad thing?
This question kicks off an interactive mini-unit for middle school students that asks them to explore the possibilities for the future of the organ that makes us human. Using collaborative learning, annotation of complex texts, and Socratic Seminar, students will engage deeply with topics of science, technology, ethics, and the future. This 5-day module builds Common Core skills of identifying and using evidence to support claims and analyzing similarities and differences in texts while simultaneously teaching students to examine assumptions, consider alternatives, and articulate their preferences for the future. The module, created and used by a middle school English teacher, contains all articles and handouts, sample discussion and vocabulary questions, an annotation guide, and scaffolding for a Socratic Seminar.