PDI-4: Science in Context: Helping Students Develop 21st Century Skills Through Issue-oriented Science
Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Location: Marriott San Francisco Marquis Hotel, Room Yerba Buena 4
Intended Audience: Grades 6–12
Recommended Pathway Sessions
Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP) of the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley
Barbara Nagle, Director, SEPUP, Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley
John Howarth, Associate Director, SEPUP, Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley
Maia Willcox, Instructional Materials Developer, SEPUP, Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley
Laura Lenz, Instructional Materials Developer, SEPUP, Lawrence Hall of Science, 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?
- How does issue-oriented science help students to develop the skills and knowledge that will help them to be successful in the 21st century?
- What are some characteristics of high quality issue-oriented science?
Adolescent students will soon be adults who will be in the position of making numerous personal and political decisions, many of which 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. Traditional science programs often fail to bring to life the connections between the science content and processes students learn and their everyday lives. In addition, few science programs give students experience applying their science learning to make evidence-based decisions. Yet in order to develop the level of scientific literacy needed to make informed decisions, students need to interact with issues that require the application of scientific evidence in formulating a position. An issue-oriented science approach engages students in thinking about how science relates to their own personal lives and to societal challenges, and in doing so opens the way to developing scientific literacy in all students.
This Institute is intended for participants who work with middle and high school students or pre-service and in-service teachers. The session will use an inquiry format to guide participants to an understanding of the rationale for using, and methods of incorporating, socioscientific issues in the science classroom. Participants will develop a vision of a classroom that is centered on an inquiry approach to a personal or societal issue. Through group work, discussions, presentations, and investigations, participants will build the foundations necessary for understanding why and how to use issues to teach science. Participants will also examine data that affirms learning gains by students engaged in issues-based programs. The nature and importance of unidimensional, formative, and embedded assessments will be discussed as participants examine student work and engage in a moderation activity with colleagues.
This Professional Development Institute is presented by staff from the Lawrence Hall of Science’s Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP). SEPUP has extensive experience developing issue-oriented instructional approaches and in providing professional development to teachers who use these approaches. The pedagogy and strategies embedded in issue-oriented activities developed by SEPUP will be analyzed and discussed during the Institute.