Science Fiction Short Stories for Middle School and High School

Although I teach high school, I often teach short stories that work for middle school as well. If you need science fiction short stories for middle school or science fiction short stories for high school, here’s a good—but nowhere close to exhaustive— list.

Science Fiction Short Stories for Middle School

Science Fiction Short Stories Lesson Plans

During my first few years teaching, I wanted to quit–every day. The only people less enthusiastic about what I was teaching were my students. So I decided to teach more high interest short stories, beginning with science fiction. All lessons in this unit are ready to use. That means no prep. Just print and run copies.

Could you use these science fiction short stories for high school? Of course. They work for multiple levels of students.

“The Fun They Had” by Isaac Asimov. 

Tommy found a book in the attic. A real book. One with pages you turn. Margie found this fascinating. The two children discuss the odd thing.  Wait until you find out what the book is about. It’s about school. The school in the book has human teachers. And these human teachers don’t come to your house. You went to a building with other children your own age, and you were all taught together. All Margie can think about is how much fun the kids must have had in schools back in the day.

“The Fun They Had” lesson plans can be found here.

"All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury Lesson Plans“All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury

It always rains on Venus…well not always. Every seven years the sun comes out for an hour or two. And today is the day. The children are skeptical. Margot is not. This is just one more reason the children hate Margot. The children are sick of Margot. So they lock her in a closet. The teacher comes back in the room and leads the class outside to enjoy the sun. And do they ever enjoy the sun! Afterwards, they remember Margot. They’re all like, “Oh sh%t! We forgot about Margot.” They feel really, really bad and walk down to the closet where they had imprisoned her.

“All Summer in a Day” lesson plans can be found here.

The Veldt Lesson Plans“The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury

Something’s wrong with the nursery. That’s how the story begins. Now this isn’t your typical nursery and it hasn’t been built for babies. It’s the centerpiece of the Hadley’s Happy Life Home. This nursery uses technology to recreate whatever the Hadley children wish to create. And as the story begins, the Hadley children wish to construct an African veldt with lions that kill and vultures that swoop down to clean the rotting meat off bones.

“The Veldt” Lesson Plans can be found here.

Science Fiction Short Stories for High School

Could you use these science fiction short stories for middle school? Of course. They work for multiple levels of students. In fact, a lot of the stories taught in high school now were taught in  middle school when I attended. But that’s a topic for another day.

“Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut. 

The year is 2081, and everybody was finally equal…in every which way, thanks to the 211th, 212th, and 213th amendments to the U.S. Constitution. George and Hazel are watching TV, unable to think about their son Harrison being taken away, Hazel because she’s stupid and George because he has a transmitter in his ear that plays loud noises to disrupt his thinking. A picture of Harrison Bergeron appears on the screen. He has escaped from prison.

“Harrison Bergeron” lesson plans can be found here.

“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury

It’s 2026 and everyone is dead. All that’s left are four silhouettes on the outside wall. Oh, that and an automated house that carries on as if nothing has happened. The house performs its functions wonderfully until a tree crashes through a window and starts a fire.

“There Will Come Soft Rains” lesson plans can be found here.

“A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury

Time Safari Inc. offers safaris to any year in the past: “You name the animal. We take you there. You shoot it.” A man named Eckles shows up with a $10,000 check so he can go back in time and hunt dinosaurs. Eckels and the guides travel back in time. The main guide tells Eckels not to go off the path. Doing so could cause immense changes. Eckles steps off the path. They return to the present. It’s a little awkward in the time machine.

“A Sound of Thunder” lesson plans can be found here.

“Rappacini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Giovanni Guasconti arrives in Padua and takes up residence in an apartment overlooking a garden belonging to Signor Rappaccini. Giovanni observes Rappaccini in his garden and comments on his intent study and obvious avoidance of the plants. He really observes Rappaccini’s daughter. The reader soon learns that spying on a mad scientist’s daughter with semi-lustful intent never turns out well.



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