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Developing conscientious citizens: interdisciplinary units using young adult dystopian novels
Contemporary Young Adult Dystopias and Utopias alike are now a part of our popular culture, and in effect, have begun to lose credibility in the academic setting, especially within the secondary classroom. Yet, I argue, YA dystopian literature is an essential part of educating students in critical thinking, for it allows for a creative and open space in which students may articulate the problems they see in society, and then collaborate on ways in which these problems may be treated. Furthermore, I propose that dystopian literature can provide interdisciplinary opportunities between Language Arts and Social Studies - using dystopian literature to effectively engage students in civics and social awareness, and thereby establishing a culture of conscientious citizens. In my demonstration of utilizing the opportunities that dystopias may provide in the secondary classroom, I will be focusing on seventh- and eighth-grade curriculum, but argue that similar curriculum may be used elsewhere. The texts that I will be creating interdisciplinary units for will be Lois Lowry’s The Giver (1993); Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games (2009), and Marie Lu’s Legends (2011).