OT: Short fiction needed for HS science class

Subject: OT: Short fiction needed for HS science class
From: Kat Nagel <katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2001 10:44:22 +0800

My husband is teaching a class this year called "How D'Ya Know?", a look at all the ways people use to determine truth. It's officially a science course, but---like most other courses at that school---will look at things from multiple points of view. At the moment, his lesson plans include units on philosophy, religion (various flavors), journalism, and several pseudo-sciences (astrology, alchemy) as well as medical and scientific fraud.

The kids also get English credit for the course. They read short stories, novels, poetry, newspaper and magazine articles and see films that treat the subject matter. They discuss the literature and do lots of writing.

Andy's starting the class with a discussion of superstition, and needs a short (8-10 pg) fiction reading assignment for the kids. He'd like something where someone is converted from superstition (false unsupported belief) to truth (belief supported by observation and deduction) by some other belief system like science or an established religion. Alternatively, he could use a story where a scientific theory is initially treated as a superstition.

We've found lots of fantasy stories where a maligned superstition turns out to be true, but none of the ones we've read use any kind of deductive or inductive reasoning to prove 'truth'. They just depend on a character *saying* it's true. That isn't what Andy wants to get across.

I thought he could use one of Randall Garret's Lord Darcy stories, but they depend too much on the reader's familiarity with 12th-18th century european history and language patterns. Most of these inner-city 14-year-olds would be lost in that stuff and not get to the central idea of superstition vs evidence.

Any ideas?
"We are more easily persuaded, in general, by the
reasons we ourselves discover than by those which
are given to us by others." -- Blaise Pascal


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