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October 21, 2013

Zombie autopsies: Publish or perish…for real – Lesson Plan 4

Created by Katie Gould in collaboration with Dr. Steven Schlozman Author of “The Zombie Autopsies”


This lesson introduces students to writing an academic journal articles and allows them to apply what they have learned during the Neuroscience and Zombies Unit. This lesson was inspired by the book the “Zombie Autopsies” by Dr. Steven Schlozman.


Neuroscience, biology

Estimated Time

One 90 minute class

Grade Level

Students should have some background in biology and research to understand this lesson.

Pass out “Publish an Academic Journal Article” to students and read the directions out to them:

Your hard work and command of neuroscience paid off-you created a cure for the zombie epidemic-congratulations! Now you need to take your work from the lab and get it out to the world in the traditional manner- an academic journal article. Use the guide below to create your very own article that you will submit for publication. You will need to use your imagination to come up with make-believe references (you need to supply a solid background in your introduction and build on the work of others), a protocol that can be replicated by others (you want everyone to be able to use your cure so the human race can be saved!), a visual representation (graphs, tables, etc.) of your results as well as a written interpretation of your data, and finally explain the application and implications of your work. Finally, be sure to address the topic ethics in your article as your protocol and the unique situation that you are in may lead to you to engage in methodology that typically would be off limits.

  1. Make sure to use the APA Style Guide when you submit your article for 1) peer review (your peers will review your work and make edits/suggestions) and then 2) for publication (turning in your article to your professor or teacher). Keep in mind that top journals only accept 5% of articles submitted which means in terms of grades that only 5% of the class has the opportunity to earn an “A”. For an example of a published article on Zombies please see the sample in the “Zombie Autopsies”, or use your school’s data base to see more examples. Good luck!
  2. Give students class time to work on their assignment and help guide them as they take all that they have learned in the unit plus their “cure” from lesson 3 and transform it into a legitimate scientific journal article.
  3. Have students turn in an initial copy to you and to two other people. They should each read, edit and make suggestions to their classmates’ first copy. Have students return the manuscripts to each other and allow them time to make changes.
  4. Collect their final copy for grading and use their first paper to gauge their effort during the process and ability to write a scientific journal article. For fun their “grade” should reflect if their paper was:
      • A- Accepted by a top journal (Lancet, Science, etc.) -only 5% of the class will be awarded this distinction
      • B- Accepted to a well-respected journal
      • C- Will be accepted upon some revisions
      • D- Will be accepted upon major revisions
      • F- Rejected


    Steven Schlozman, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Lecturer in Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He earned his Medical Degree at the Brown-Dartmouth Program in Medicine, and completed his training in general psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and his Child Psychiatry Residency at the MGH/McLean Program in Child Psychiatry.

    He is currently the Co-Director of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry for Harvard Medical School and a staff child psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Clinically, he works with children, adolescents and adults in both psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic treatment settings, and he serves as the pediatric psychiatry consultant to the pediatric transplant unit at the MGH Hospital for Children. His academic work focuses on curriculum reform and educational endeavors at the medical student and post graduate levels, as well as on the psychiatric treatment of medically ill children. His first novel, the Zombie Autopsies, was published by Grand Central Publishing in March 2011 and has optioned for film by George Romero.

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