InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts > Module Overview
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The materials are free and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Instructor Materials: Overview of the Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts Module

Module Goal: Students will plot and interpret climate change data and relate interpretations to climate system interactions, will rhetorically analyze the treatment of a climate change issue in a work of literary fiction, poetry, or film, and will understand the value of both literature and scientific data in communicating the grand societal challenge represented by climate change.

Summative Assessment: In the summative assessment, students write a three-page reflection paper that focuses on the analysis of graphs and interpretations (from Unit 2), in addition to analyzing their classmates' graphs/blogs. They will identify the interactions of the different Earth spheres related to the climate change issues presented. In addition, they will reflect upon the connection of the climate data to fictional works. Learn more about assessing student learning in this module.

These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. At the top of each page, you can click on the NGSS logo to see the specific connections. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more about the process of alignment and how to use InTeGrate materials to implement the NGSS.

NGSS in this Module

Overall, this module provides an opportunity to engage students in an interdisciplinary activity that combines analysis techniques from English/Language Arts and science. Students engage in data analysis and interpretation of regional and global climate data, and analyze different genres of written texts (including fiction) for literary techniques and strategies, ultimately combining the two types of analyses to develop their own communication strategies for climate change science.

Unit 1 Overview of Earth's Climate System

In Unit 1, students are introduced to basic concepts related to Earth's climate system. Students examine data sets that are provided and analyze those data.

Unit 2 Communicating Climate 1: The Science of Climate Change

In Unit 2, students have the opportunity to create and interpret their own graphs of climate change data that complement the short stories that follow. This unit provides students with a deeper understanding of the climate change data available and develops their ability to interpret those data. Students also practice their scientific communication skills as they interpret climate change data for a non-scientific audience using a blog.

Unit 3 Communicating Climate Part 2: Literary Representations of Climate Change

In Unit 3, students are introduced to climate change literary genres through class discussion. Students complete a brief rhetorical analysis and will be able to distinguish the differences in the types of texts and describe how those texts engage the readers about climate change concepts.

Unit 4 Read and Analyze a Short Story

In Unit 4, students apply their knowledge of "cli-fi" when provided with a fictional short story. After reading a short story, students will be able to discuss the climate change significance of the story and explain its literary context.

Unit 5 Literary Representation of a Grand Societal Challenge

In Unit 5, students share their graphs (from Unit 2) with group members and assess their peers' descriptions. The students then compare and contrast the strategies employed for presenting climate change information to the general public in the form of graphs and "cli-fi" short stories. For this analysis, the students will use the example short story for Unit 4 and their experience with graph creation. Finally, the students will discuss the similarities and differences of their impressions of climate change issues from the short story and the graph descriptions.

Making the Module Work

This module uses a scaffolding approach and stresses the importance of the higher-level thinking required within the units. In order to make this module work, we strongly recommend following each unit in order. We developed this module with the expectation that it will be part of an interdisciplinary course that would lend itself to a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds. If taught in a humanities course, concepts related to a rhetorical analysis may be already covered, and therefore Units 3 and 4 may take less time and direction than when it is embedded in a science course. Conversely, when taught in a science course, Units 1 and 2 may take less time. We encourage all courses to complete each unit, regardless of the type of course, so that the scaffolding approach works for all students, independent of background knowledge. The module is designed to work well in both online and face-to-face course formats.

To adapt all or part of the Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts module for your classroom, you will also want to read through:


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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »