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Robots, Rockets, and Ray Guns: Science and Man in Science Fiction

The category of Science Fiction covers a strikingly broad variety of writing styles and purposes. The plausibility of the math and science incorporated also varies widely. In this course, we will read approximately ten short stories and novel excerpts from the Science Fiction genre and then discuss both the overt and subtle portrayals of known scientific and mathematical principles which they contain. Furthermore, while Science Fiction is often thought of as simple space operas or entertaining page-turners, these stories often pose thought-provoking and surprisingly profound questions about man’s relationship to creation, his place as a subcreator via science and engineering, and his relationship to his technological creations. Beauty, family, reason, faith, love of neighbor, progress, and humanity are topics that will most likely be centerpieces of the class discussions. Possible areas scientific inquiry that may be addressed include thermodynamics, artificial intelligence, computer programming, epistemology, the scientific method, chaos theory, interactive/information technology, chemistry, Newtonian mechanics, infinity, and probability.



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Coming Soon

Required Course Materials:

Most materials will be provided for free by the teacher. Possibly a novel or anthology will be needed, which may be borrowed or purchased.

Chris Clancy earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After working as a postdoctoral researcher at Duke University and the University of Chicago, she decided to leave academia and stay home with her firstborn son. She and her husband homeschool their four children. After reading Dorothy Sayers’ “The Lost Tools of Learning”, she was inspired to teach her children in the classical style of learning.

Chris has taught high school Biology, Chemistry, and Physics to both her own children and other homeschoolers at a Catholic homeschool co-op which she and her husband helped found. She is equally enthusiastic about history and literature and is always willing to play a board game, cribbage, or backgammon.


Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. unnamed-e1455142229376 To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.



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First, read the available course descriptions, noting prerequisites, target grades, and course objectives. If you think your student is prepared for the course, go ahead and register. After registration, a placement assessment may be provided to students, depending on the course and the student’s previous enrollment with Scholé Academy. Registration is finalized when the student’s placement assessment has been returned by the course instructor with placement confirmation.


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