Science Behind the Story

Good People, I’m excited to share a recently completed project with you. This is a free curriculum guide and companion text for the fiction anthology Origins.  Origins is available from our good friends at Hadley-Rille Books, if you’re into supporting small presses directly, or there’s a Kindle version ($4) at

The concept is simple: use science fiction to explore evolutionary biology. A good friend of mine, Randall Hayes, at Variation Selection Inheritance brought his scientific knowledge to bear and we developed the text with science teachers in mind. The free pdf version is The Science Behind the Story.   Here are the mobi (kindle) and epub (nook) versions. More about the manual is below, but first a little about the anthology.

Origins: Tales of Human Evolution is edited by Eric T. Reynolds Publishers Weekly said it was an “Ambitious overview of human evolution…individually excellent works…”

Clearly we agreed. Just check out these authors:

Gerri Leen (3,000,000 years ago)
Leslie Robyn (175,000 years ago)
Z.S. Adani (71,000 years ago)
Max Habilis (41,000 years ago)
Camille Alexa (31,000 years ago)
Jenny Blackford (2500 years ago)
Mike Resnick (throughout the span of human existence)

The manual starts with a chapter entitled “What Do I Do with Fiction in a Science Class?” and includes sections on “Reading for Understanding and Meaning,” “Annotation,” “Basic Story Questions,” and some “Basic Discussion Questions Template.”

Each story is broken down with the following: a Synopsis, a section on Vocabulary, the Main Characters, some Discussion Questions, Search Terms & Key Concepts in Evolutionary Science, Research/Discussion Questions, Links & Resources, and possible Assignments.

We end the manual with “What Else Can I Do with Fiction in a Science Class?” which includes a checklist for effective writing assignments, sample rubrics, peer review activities, in-class activities, and teaching strategies.

We hope science teachers and home schoolers find it instructive, useful, and engaging.

Randall runs a podcast covering biological sciences. As he notes, “VSI is a podcast about evolution, broadly defined as the behaviors of any system that displays the trifecta of variation, selection, and inheritance.” At his site, we are asking for feedback from teachers who download and use The Science Behind the Stories in their classrooms.