The Twilight Zone tackled a diversity of social issues and political statements not seen in shows of its time. Its creator, Rod Serling (himself a Unitarian), believed that controversial messages and dialogues were needed to get a point across, and purposely created a science fiction show to get such messages past corporate censors. The result was five seasons of timeless episodes that resonate as strongly today as they did in the late fifties and early sixties.
The Fifth Dimension uses episodes of The Twilight Zone as the basis for in-depth discussions of a wide variety of topics. At each class, an entire episode is viewed, a distinct advantage when discussion is the intention. After viewing, the class engages in discussion and activities, designed to encourage deep contemplation of issues.
This curriculum is very easy to teach and to administer. The lesson guide provides an outline of each episode followed by discussion questions and activities. It is entirely possible to lead a class with minimal preparation.
Students are quickly, and deeply, engaged in the topics, and become active participants in class discussions. Students react with enthusiasm, generating provocative discussion and interaction.
For directors and coordinators, the episodes are easy to obtain. All are available through streaming or on DVD. Streaming provides the most economical way to purchase individual episodes, costing only a couple of dollars each, and with episodes currently free for Amazon Prime subscribers.
Lessons are appropriate for either a classroom or youth group setting. Included with your purchase are PowerPoint presentations that can be edited as needed. PowerPoint has proven to be a valuable tool with this age group to keep the class engaged.
|Time Enough at Last||1||nuclear war; solitude versus loneliness|
|The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street||1||the dangers of prejudice and hysteria|
|The Howling Man||2||evil|
|Eye of the Beholder||2||prejudice and social conformity|
|A Most Unusual Camera||2||greed|
|The Night of the Meek||2||income inequality and redemption|
|The Obsolete Man||2||censorship and the dangers of totalitarianism|
|The Shelter||3||nuclear war|
|A Quality of Mercy||3||bigotry|
|To Serve Man||3||visitors from outer space; speciesism|
|Four O'Clock||3||the danger of being judgmental|
|The Old Man in the Cave||5||greed, power, and questioning one's faith|
|Number 12 Looks Just Like You||5||conformity and objectification|
|I Am the Night - Color Me Black||5||racism and capital punishment|
|The Brain Center at Whipple's||5||excessive industrialization|
"I recommend The Fifth Dimension for middle school - watching episodes of The Twilight Zone and discussing . . . We also have programming for preschoolers and elementary and youth spread throughout the week but Fifth Dimension is by far the most popular."
~ Liz Roper, Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown, NJ
"Fifth Dimension is by far the most popular curriculum we use. We offer it every other year for middle school, and the volunteers love it. It's easy to use, engaging, and still relevant after all these years!"
~ Gina Campellone, Director of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Society: East, Manchester, CT