National Science Fiction Day is celebrated each year on the 2nd day of January by science fiction fans in the United States. National Science Fiction Day, an “unofficial” holiday as it corresponds with the birth date of famed science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. It has been shown that science fiction is a popular topic amongst children. Subsequently, on science fiction day teachers can encourage students to watch some classic fiction movies, T.V. shows, or begin to read a science fiction novel. Upon further exploration, encourage students to visit the Museum of Science Fiction website located at: http://www.museumofsciencefiction.org/welcome/
The Museum Of Science Fiction is currently under construction in Washington D.C. In connection, the planners are creating, constructing, and developing exhibits that are high-tech, in a futuristic physical museum that not only engage, but also spark the imagination. According to the website: “…The museum will be composed of seven permanent galleries designed to celebrate and encourage the very human tendency to always ask: ‘What if?’…” Subsequently, the Museum’s website outlines seven galleries into the following categories:
Gallery 1 - The Creator
A portrait of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) an English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her gothic novel Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus (1818).
Galery 2 - Other Worlds
“…This gallery presents the settings for science fiction stories, answering the question: ‘What if I could visit other worlds?’…”
Gallery 3 - Vehicles
“… ‘What if I could invent a way to travel wherever I want?’ For centuries, people have wondered how one might travel to the Moon or stars, or if cars could fly…”
Gallery 4 - Time Travels
“… Most people conceive of time as a linear construct. In reality, it is an integral part of our universe, a fourth dimension along with the three spatial dimensions…”
Gallery 5 - Aliens, Creatures, and Altered Life
“… Extraterrestrials are perhaps the first thing people think of when they ask: ‘What if life were different?’ Often just called ‘aliens,’ this is a frequent concept in science fiction because it represents an opportunity to consider the question: ‘Are we alone?’…”
Gallery 6 - Computers and Robots
“… ‘What if computers could think like me?’ is another question often pondered, especially in recent decades. Computers, robots, androids, and artificial intelligence (AI) are recurring elements in science fiction. …”
Gallery 7 - Technology
“… Clark’s Third Law states, ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ This gallery is home to all the tools conceived as supporting elements in science fiction stories that are not fully represented in the other galleries. …”
Although the physical location of the museum is underway, the museum established a partnership agreement with DC Public Schools in 2014 and was approved by Reagan National Airport (DCA) to install the “Future of Travel” exhibit in 2015.
Conversely, the museum has an educational vision at its core mission and can be used as a resource for educators who are focused on implementing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum in the classroom. Furthermore, the Museum has developed a curriculum, STEAM, for teachers that engage students in the development of critical thinking in a project-based pilot program underway in DC Public Schools. In addition to STEM objectives, and Next Generation Science Standards, the museum will also focus on the arts.
Moreover, the Museum of Science Fiction’s Deep Ocean Research and Robotics Competition aligns with its educational vision and encourages thinking. Recent federal legislation changes with the implementation of Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, broadens the curriculum objective options of school districts, which provides the opportunity for teachers to implement STEM in the classroom during the 2017-2018 school year. A variety of project-based learning activities in science fiction can now be introduced to students in schools across the United States!
“…We believe that science fiction inspires interest in science, engineering, technology, math, art, and ultimately imagination. Science fiction is rich with ideas that can serve as a springboard for curiosity and project-based learning, from understanding how warp drive might function to how cyborgs could affect our daily lives. We also believe science fiction holds value for all ages and we will endeavor to tailor our education and outreach efforts to appeal to a wide range of visitors in an inclusive environment…”
The Museum of Science Fiction has the following Educational Offerings in project-based programming:
- Interactive and educational exhibitions
- A variety of project-based learning activities, both in the Museum and in the classroom
- An online resource center for educators and students
- Scholarships and grants
- Competitions and contests
“… Imagine walking through a Stargate to a destination that houses the most awe-inspiring and thought-provoking artifacts from the best imaginations in science fiction. Refuel a full-size X-Wing Starfighter or open a time portal with your smartphone. These are just some of the ideas we hope to bring to life …” writes Executive Director, Greg Viggiano, PhD.