How using socio-scientific issues to teach about climate change enhances engagement and knowledge of the nature of science in a year 9 girls class

Evans, Philippa 

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The engagement of girls with science in secondary education has been impacted by compartmentalisation of the curriculum, which reduces opportunities for students to link scientific knowledge to other subjects. Compartmentalisation also reduces student knowledge of the nature of science (NOS). This study aims to investigate whether using socio-scientific issues (SSIs) as an approach to studying scientific concepts, such as climate change, can enhance the engagement of year 9 girls with science, and their understanding of NOS. Evidence was collected from focus groups, questionnaires and practitioner reflections. Results showed that using SSIs enhanced some elements of student engagement, and understanding of NOS. Students reported high levels of engagement during SSIassociated tasks, but further research is necessary to distinguish whether factors such as interactions with others and movement around the classroom drives the increased engagement. Nevertheless, this study concludes that SSIs are a useful approach for teaching scientific concepts and about NOS.

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PGCE Secondary Science, Biology, Classroom, Education, Year 9
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Journal of Trainee Teacher Educational Research
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Faculty of Education