On March 18, 2021, the partner school alliance of Shandong, Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Guizhou of the SSI-L Project held an online meeting on the issue selection of each school for the new semester of 2021, which focused on whether the issues selected were appropriate. The meeting was chaired by Zhang Tao, the leader of SSI-L Project Shandong and the director of middle school teaching and research department of Weihai Municipal Teaching & Research Center, and attended by over 40 people, including Associate Professor Yang Jun from Guizhou Normal University, the heads and teachers of seven schools of the alliance.
Jihong Primary School of Harbin, Heilongjiang
He Yinghong, a teacher from Jihong Primary School of Harbin, introduced the SSI-L Project of the school. The issue selected by the school was “What are the impacts of water pollution to our life?” The teacher mainly introduced the project from such perspectives as the key competence of students, the driving questions, academic performance evaluation and activities.
Director Zhang Tao believed that the issue of water pollution for this semester lacked regional features and controversies. The activities were similar to an exploring study, so he suggested that the school should continue to study the issue of ice and snow it selected in last semester.
Professor Yang Jun believed that if the issue of water pollution were selected, the research would involve a series of biochemical indicators and terms of water quality pollution, which could only be understood by students of high schools, but may be difficult to elementary school students who still lack relevant scientific knowledge. For this reason, Professor Yang suggested that starting from bottled water, the research direction and topic can be selected from the cognitive perspective of elementary school students and controversies can be discovered near the students.
No. 1 Experimental Middle School of Guiyang, Guizhou
Teacher Wang Yingxin from No. 1 Experimental Middle School of Guiyang introduced the issue of the school “the protection and development of ‘Behind Twelve’ karst caves”. He introduced the learning design of the issue from such perspectives as background, object of study, and course setting.
Director Zhang Tao believed that the issue showed regional features, but lacking driving questions, and the activities were mainly for inquiry learning. He suggested further analyzing the contents covered by the issue and breaking down the general problem into smaller ones, and then organizing the research in semesters.
Professor Yang believed that the issue could be more focused on a minor direction and the feasibility of the activities should also considered.
Qianshanlu Primary School of Weihai
Teacher Wang Chuansheng of Qianshanlu Primary School of Weihai first introduced the implementation of SSI leanring by the school in last semester and said that the school would continue with the research on the issue of lavender planting in this semester, and strengthen cooperative research with sibling schools.
Director Zhang Tao believed that the controversy of the issue was whether lavender planting had impacts on the surrounding environment and people’s health, and some activities for the issue were not carried out around the controversy. He also exchanged views with Director Wang on the controversy of the issue.
Professor Yang Jun believed that the activities designed for the SSI learning were fairly sufficient and meticulous. It was a good way of exploration to cooperate with sibling schools, yet the controversy of the issue was not so strong.
Fuxin Primary School of Rongcheng
Considering the decreasing of seaweed houses, Fuxin Primary School of Rongcheng proposed an issue of “Should the seaweed houses in Rongcheng be protected and carried on”. Zhou, a teacher of the school, introduced the star chart of the issue and elaborated the specific arrangement of activities.
Director Zhang Tao suggested that the issue should be associated with the SSI learning by the school in last semester, “urban landscape trees”, to a certain extent, since both were specific issues. Therefore, he suggested including them into the general topic of “Charming Rongcheng”, and proposing other specific topics around the general topic, which should then be studied in semesters.
Professor Yang Jun believed that the issue of “Charming Rongcheng” was a good suggestion and a series of researches can be carried out around the general topic. The data about seaweed houses in Rongcheng, Weihai can be easily gained from the internet, which is of certain research values.
Experimental School of Nanhai New District, Weihai
The Experimental School of Nanhai New District, Weihai selected the same issue as last year, “Is the development of Nanhai the cause for the decrease of Xiaoguan clams?” The teacher Yu Dongsheng believed that the SSI research should be meaningful. Through the SSI learning on this issue, some suggestions could be made on the governance of the government.
Director Zhang Tao believed that the school could propose the issue according to local conditions. However, the issue was about “what”, which could find a certain answer and need not reach a conclusion through “arguing”.
Wanghaiyuan Middle School of Weihai
Wang Zhen, a teacher of Wanghaiyuan Middle School of Weihai, first reviewed the SSI learning of last semester, “Whether vegetation dyeing should be promoted vigorously”, and then introduced that the school would continue to promote the issue of vegetation dyeing in two directions. First, what factors affect the regional differences of vegetation dyeing? 2. What is the current status of manual dyeing workers? Will they develop in the future?
Director Zhang Tao believed that regional differences and the current status of manual dyeing workers cannot serve as driving questions, since they are about “what” and can reach a definite conclusion. To be a socio-scientific issue, controversies are required, such as “whether to select local fabric dyed with vegetation dye, or fabric of Guizhou”.
Shichang Campus of No. 1 Middle School of High-tech Zone, Weihai
The teacher Jiang of the school said that they would take “Is power generation with marine debris feasible in Weihai” as an alternative issue. Jiang introduced the necessity to dispose marine debris, and the elements of the issue in five areas, namely science, policy, environment, economy, and security.
Director Zhang Tao suggested that the current status of marine debris in Weihai should be studied in advance. If the amount of marine debris was not high, then incineration power generation would not be feasible, and thus the issue would be a false proposition. The issue of reclaiming land from the sea studied by the school in last semester is a general topic, which can be studied more deeply and completely from multiple perspectives.
Professor Yang Jun believed that to advance the research of the issue, marine debris should be defined more clearly to confirm the research direction and content of the topic.
At the end of the meeting, Director Zhang arranged the work to be done in the future. First, confirm the issues to be studied in the current semester sooner according to the discussion tonight and systematically plan the issues to be studied in the following two years. Second, develop a scheme for the SSI learning according to related requirements and formats, perform the star chart analysis and plan the detailed steps for the issues. Third, take action at once to implement the scheme. Fourth, collect and sort out the process materials and prepare for exchange and exhibition. Fifth, summarize the research in time in such forms as cases, papers and reports, to make a bigger achievement on the basis of the work done in last semester.