Boulder Prep High School is using the cli-fi genre to hook reluctant readers and science fans on language arts.
The year-round charter school in Gunbarrel is piloting a class that combines climate change science with literacy using a cli-fi book written by local author William Liggett.
"We have a lot of science oriented students who hate language arts," said Boulder Prep Headmaster Lili Adeli. "We were trying to find an interesting way to offer language arts for them. It's worked out really well."
Math and science teacher Justin St. Onge, who's co-teaching the class with Adeli, met at a book signing at the Boulder Public Library for his novel, "Watermelon Snow."
They struck up a conversation, developing an idea for a cli-fi class based on "Watermelon Snow." Watermelon snow is the term used for snow that's painted pink by algae that grows on glaciers — and the pink snow absorbs more sun, melting it faster.
"Watermelon Snow," which published in June, is about a female professor who leads a team studying the Blue Glacier in the Olympic Mountains of Washington. The plot includes a NASA behavioral science observer and a storm that forces an evacuation.
"It's a science-based cli-fi adventure," Liggett said.
Liggett joins the Boulder Prep class each day to observe and answer student questions as they read the book.