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Weird Science: Smelly, Sticky, Silly Science Class!

The Science of Monsters: Summer Literacy Boost!

This is a four week course that combines science, history, lore, and a smidge of gore to create excitement and build literacy skills during summer break.

Class experience

Follows Teacher-Created Curriculum
4 lessons//4 Weeks
 Week 1
Lesson 1
The Magic of Science: Merlin and Frankenstein
Students will learn about the myths and history behind Merlin as well as the current, cultural and scientific events that were happening at the time of Mary Shelly's creation of her literary juggernaut, Frankenstein. These icons of will serve as a vehicle to learn new vocabulary, themes and central ideas in nonfiction and fiction reading. Vocabulary, themes, central ideas, implicit and explicit ideas in reading will be taught and built upon with each lesson.
 Week 2
Lesson 2
Dracula and the Biology of Blood
Students will continue to build their non-fiction and content area vocabulary and reading skills as they learn and review strategies to identify themes, central ideas, implicit and explicit ideas in text, through the exploration of the various histories and literary adaptions of Dracula (one of them was a thinly veiled skewering of a particularly demanding boss!). We will then move onto the study of what blood actually is: what it is composed of, its volume, arteries, and veins!
 Week 3
Lesson 3
Zombies and the Science of Viruses
Where did the whole idea of zombies come from anyway? Would it surprise you if I told you a fish?! In these lessons we will read about the various lore behind zombies, which usually starts with a virus, how viruses actually work and if why Hollywood gets the whole zombie virus cycle wrong. And of course, just for fun, if there really was a zombie apocalypse, it really wouldn't be that hard to survive it with our ultimate survival kit because understanding science is stronger than fear!
 Week 4
Lesson 4
Werewolves: Just Like Us But With Better Hair?!
Are werewolves really all that scary? Learn about how centuries ago, the very real fear that came from wolf attacks transformed into the belief that there was such a thing as lycanthropy-the mystical ability to turn into a werewolf! We will also learn about the very real condition called hypertrichosis, that does NOT make you a werewolf, and how ultimately humans and "werewolves" may just have a few things in common like a coccyx and some very real reasons to stay away from wolfsbane.
Besides learning all kinds of cool facts, students will build their vocabulary, identify key concepts, themes, and tips and tricks to help navigate nonfiction and/or content area reading.
I am currently an 8th grade History and ELA teacher in a public school who loves helping students engage in all kind of reading. I have 20 years of teaching experiences and was honored last year with my country's Middle School Teacher of the Year award.
Homework Offered
Assessments Offered
Assessments will serve as a vehicle to reinforce concepts and as an opportunity for feedback. These will be presented within the lesson. Students may pause the lesson and complete the assessment if they choose. Assessments will be in the form of quizzes, games, and writing prompts. They may also skip the assessment or choose to continue without pausing and complete it later. These are optional and flexible.
Grades Offered
I will provide handouts and scanned segments from the book Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind Your Favorite Monsters. These will be available digitally, but you may print them out if you wish.

Paper and a pen or pencil will be helpful to have on hand for note taking during the lesson.
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
Some content may be scary to learners if they are not familiar with traditional presentations of Frankenstein, Dracula, werewolves and zombies. It is presented a manner that is appropriate for middle school, but you know what is best for your learner. I recommend previewing the movie clips and Carlyn Beccia's book  Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind Your Favorite Monsters.
We will read sections of  Monstrous: The Lore, Gore, and Science behind Your Favorite Monsters by Carlyn Beccia.

1931 movie trailer from Frankenstein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkSbwiKP3mo

1931 movie trailer from Dracula: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoaMw91MC9k 

1941 movie trailer from The Wolfman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-jNVyPRDCQ
Hello Parents and Students!

My name is Laura VanGemert and I am a certified teacher with over 20 years of experience. I have worked with students ranging from pre-school aged to high school!

I currently teach American History and Language Arts... 
Self-Paced Class


weekly or $80 for all content
4 pre-recorded lessons
4 weeks of teacher support
Choose your start date
1 year of access to the content

Ages: 11-14

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