STEM Central

A Community of Practice for NSF STEM Projects

Socioscientific Issues as a Curriculum Emphasis: Theory, Research and Practice

The Socioscientific Issues (SSI) framework is a research-based interdisciplinary approach that provides science teachers and science educators with the means to achieve functional scientific literacy. The purpose of this webinar is to provide a basic overview of the central elements within the SSI framework and to highlight key science teaching strategies and curriculum development that engage students in contextualized moral and ethical science issues. The SSI approach can be used in conjunction with numerous problem-solving and argumentation strategies, such as Argument Driven Inquiry, to analyze challenging, issues and develop conceptual understand of subject-matter.

The process of scientific argumentation is critical to the advancement of sound scientific knowledge claims because it involves critiquing the conceptual products, the methods used for collecting data, and the analytical procedures used to coordinate the data and subsequent knowledge claim. A key reason for this focus is that argumentation will empower students from distinguishing claims made on scientific grounds from those based solely on tradition and authority.

The Bethune-Cookman University STEM faculty and staff plan to implement scientific argumentation into their courses to engage students in an innovative way. Educators will develop new curricula and incorporate new equipment that will enhance the learning environment to support the research.

Will this project give students more opportunities to construct and critique explanations or arguments of a natural phenomenon as part of the inquiry process? Could empirical research provide new approaches to not only improve students’ abilities to develop and critique arguments, but also enhance conceptual understanding?

We invite you to explore these and other questions at this upcoming webinar. Please feel free to add your ideas and questions in the comment feature below.

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