Teacher Sign Up
Sign In
Report on an Extraterrestrial Experience

Students will imagine that they are the first person from Earth to make contact with an intelligent alien life form. They will write a first-person account describing the experience.

PROCESS:

  1. Remind the class that in the article the writer explored the possibility of an alien encounter from the Hollywood, scientific, sociological and theological points of view. While these perspectives are vastly different, they do share a common concern: If people ever do make contact with extraterrestrials, they have no idea what to expect.
  2. Tell students to imagine that they are the first person to ever make contact with an intelligent life form from another planet. Encourage them to brainstorm ideas about what would happen. 
  3. Point out that the details of this encounter could vary greatly depending upon their role in the experience. For example, a scientist and a theologian could have very different points of view. Setting is another important consideration. Are they visiting another planet or did the aliens come to Earth? They must also think about the different types of life forms that could exist and the intentions of these beings as they make contact with people on Earth.  
  4. Instruct students to write a first-person narrative describing their encounter. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their finished stories with the class. Encourage listeners to identify what they liked most about each story. After hearing all of the narratives, challenge students to summarize what the class thinks is most likely to happen during the first alien encounter. 

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:     

Grades 3-4:
Have students write their stories in small groups. Then instruct students to answer three questions about each story: 1) Was the story written from the first-person perspective? 2) From what viewpoint was the story told? 3) Were there enough details for listeners to clearly understand what happened during this initial alien encounter? 

Grades 5-6:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories in small groups. Tell groups to ask questions as they evaluate how well their fellow authors told this tale from the first-person perspective. Encourage them to offer suggestions for improvement.

Grades 7-8:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories in small groups. Tell groups to ask questions as they evaluate how well their fellow authors told this tale from the first-person perspective. Challenge students to identify details that might have been different if the writer had taken on a different role in the story.

Grades 9-10:
Instruct each student to write a story and have students share their stories with a partner. Then instruct partners to write a brief account of their partner's story from a third-person point of view. Challenge partners to identify key differences in the two versions of each account.