PDI-5: Issue-Oriented Science: Engage, Motivate, and Educate
Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Location: Philadelphia Marriott Hotel, Room 404
Science Area: Integrated/General
Intended Audience: Middle Level; High School
Recommended Pathway Sessions
Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) of the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley
Sara Dombkowski Wilmes, UC Berkeley
John Howarth, UC Berkeley
Laura Lenz, UC Berkeley
- Why is issue-oriented science an important approach?
- How can issue-oriented science units provide rigorous science content and process and address national and state standards?
- What are some characteristics of high quality issue-oriented science?
Issue-oriented science engages all students in thinking about how science relates to their own personal lives and to societal challenges. The Lawrence Hall of Science’s Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) has extensive experience developing issue-oriented instructional approaches and in providing professional development to teachers who use these approaches. This Institute is designed for teachers, science curriculum coordinators, administrators, and other instructional leaders who will explore criteria and approaches for evaluating and developing issue-oriented science lessons and units. Participants will be introduced to specific strategies for integrating scientific issues into science units, develop concrete plans for how to integrate local issues into the science classroom, and learn how to develop a classroom environment for effective use of issues as part of a rigorous and engaging science program. Recent issues relating to science in personal and societal issues related to biology, chemistry, and earth science will be highlighted.
Adolescent students will soon be independent adults, making numerous personal and political decisions that can be informed by scientific principles and processes. They will make decisions about personal health, consumer goods, and public policies related to the environment, to name just a few. Yet science programs often fail to bring to life the connections between the science content and processes students learn and their everyday lives and do not give students experience applying their science learning to making evidence-based decisions.
This Institute is intended for participants who work with middle and high school students or pre-service and in-service teachers. Participants will be introduced to criteria and learning cycle for issue-oriented science programs and evaluate sample units from the life, earth, and physical sciences to determine how well they meet these criteria. They will also be introduced to assessment strategies for issue-oriented science. They will then work in small groups to develop and evaluate ideas for meaningful issue-oriented science activities in their own classrooms.
The Lawrence Hall of Science's SEPUP program has completed a series of instructional materials development and teacher enhancement projects related to issue-oriented science. The program has worked with school districts, scientists, educational leaders, teachers, and students throughout the country to field-test and refine issue-oriented curriculum materials and professional development approaches. Through this work, SEPUP has developed a model for issues as a context for providing a rigorous science program at the upper elementary and secondary grades. SEPUP was also a partner in the development of the BEAR Assessment System for embedded and authentic approaches to assessment. Through these projects, the program has developed experience in developing issue-oriented science approaches that engage a broad range of students, encourage scientific and language literacy, and avoid advocacy, encouraging students to make evidence-based decisions.
Since 1988, SEPUP has completed five NSF-funded curriculum projects and two NSF-funded teacher professional development projects. SEPUP's current issue-oriented curriculum projects are Science and Global Issues, funded by NSF, and HyTec, a project on hydrogen and fuel cells funded by the Department of Energy.
Participants should bring several examples of socioscientific issues in the news that they would like evaluate and develop into lessons for their own classroom. They should also pring a copy of their state, or local standards and an outline of their curriculum.