On April 24, 2021, a seminar on “Socio-scientific Issue Learning Design & Implementation” was held at Nanhui campus of First Middle School of Linping, Hangzhou. The teachers Huang Ziyue from Olive Tree School and Hu Yuanchan from First Middle School of Linping gave two wonderful demonstration classes. Yu Yuan, a teacher from Sandun Middle School of Hangzhou, shared the “Joy and Comprehension in Socio-scientific Issues Practice” based on the two teachers’ classroom teaching practice. The two classes were funny and close to society and reality and the wonderful sharing of the teacher Yu had enlightened and shocked all teachers at the site.
Huang Ziyue unfolded a study and discussion on composite paper packing with a topic of “Is Milk Carton Waste?” First, she guided the students to deeply understand the composition of a milk carton, aroused thinking of the question from the level of scientific theories and introduced the concept of “resource”. Later, Huang offered specific data to ask the students to work out the resource conversion and recycling rate of milk cartons based on the data and think of the question “Why are the theoretically valuable milk cartons are taken as waste?”
When the students were shocked by the strong contrast between the high recycling value and low recycling rate of milk cartons, Huang assigned some tasks in the form of a seminar. 1. Analyze the causes of the recycling and reuse status of milk cartons. 2. Propose solutions based on the causes. She guided the students to think deeply of the recycling status of milk cartons, and then made a summary to guide the students to think from various dimensions and perspectives. Through mutual evaluation, the collision of thoughts among the students had improved their emotional and thinking abilities. At the end, the teacher summarized based on the proposals of students and measures actually taken, pointing out that the two aspects of a contradiction will transform mutually under certain conditions.
The teacher Hu launched a discussion on campus greening design based on the characteristics of Linping as a fruit town and the school. Under the questions of “Should fruit trees be planted in the campus, what fruit trees should be planted and how the trees should be distributed”, she asked the students to design the fruit tree growing reasonably for the new campus according to the growth habits of different plants and the campus features, and share their design reasons with other classmates. The collision of thoughts of the students in the team kept perfecting. At first, they just considered the growth habits of fruit trees and saw issues from a scientific perspective. Afterwards, they began to consider the implications of different fruit trees and their cultural values as well. Tree growing in the campus is close to the students’ life. As a member of the campus, the students can think in the school’s position, so that it can raise their interest.
After the two wonderful classes, Yu Yuan, a teacher from Sandun Middle School, shared and discussed with everyone on the “Joy and Comprehension of Socio-scientific Issue Learning”. Yu first started from the overview of the topic to share the team’s discussion on the contents of the topic, course design, modeling practice and exhibition, and labor division, and showed the process of exploring and practicing on the topic of water eutrophication. In this process, the students were the subject of activities. They have designed several variables such as microbes, plants and aquatic animals to prevent water eutrophication and made certain achievements. Yu’s explanation had opened the gate to a new world for everyone, allowing everyone to have some different understanding of teaching. The teachers not only taught students knowledge, but also connected knowledge with life and society, which can raise their learning interest and sense of social responsibility, but also enable them to consider and solve any issue dialectically.
In the end, Jin Jingsheng, a teacher and researcher of Hangzhou for science education of junior high schools, gave an affirmative summary on the classes and sharing of the three teachers. “Socio-scientific Issues” are currently much discussed issues in scientific teaching. Through combining social issues and science subjects, they attempt to inspire the students’ thinking and foster their decision-making ability. There are no ultimate conclusions to socio-scientific issues. The students have to treat the two parties of a contradiction dialectically, and make decisions and solve problems through inference based on scientific evidences (or scientific evidence-based reasoning). This not only reflects their core scientific literacy, but also can combine science, politics and society to enable the students to not only learn knowledge on science textbooks, but also allow them to apply the knowledge to solve social issues, make knowledge serve their life, thereby raising their interest and literacy in science.