Fig. 1 Students from Yuhe Primary School visited Datong Coal Museum.
Fig. 2 Students of Fuxin Primary School went on field observation of seaweed house of Xu family in Dazhuang village.
At 7:00 – 8:45 pm of June 9, 2021, the primary school team of socio-scientific issues learning group of Beijing Normal University held an online seminar in the Tencent Conference Room. Lin Jing, the SSI-L project leader, and Cao Chunhao of primary school section attended the seminar and offered guidance, and the backbone teachers of each partner school also participated in this seminar.
Xie Kaixuan, from Yuhe Primary School of Pingcheng District, Datong, Shanxi, introduced the topic of “Black Gold”. The school selected the topics and activities that students are interested via questionnaire, and completed the topic’s overall design accordingly. Based on the suggestion in last discussion, the content has changed from five sections into four, modified the driving issue, and improved the activity design to some degree; the first two sections with knowledge preparation nature are being reduced, and the last two sections which are more active are added. During the implementation of the school’s project, the school took students to visit Datong Coal Museum. There are five display areas in the museum, including the formation of coal, the mining of coal, the utilization of coal, coal culture, a hundred years’ history of coal in Datong, which are highly relevant to the section design of the content and very helpful to students’ topic learning. When visiting the museum, parents were also invited to come along, so that parents got more involved in the topic, which is good for the progress of the topic. The school also put forward some difficulties during implementation, including: students’ limited knowledge level, soaring imagination, and difficult to make reasonable assumption.
Miao Xuchun, from Wenzhou Dalton Primary School, remarked that, during the study of the problem “Why do coal mining technologies constantly update”, the attention could be more focused on the discussion of “the relationship between the development of mining technology and human society”. The highlight of the topic lies in local cultural inheritance, and getting students closer to the topic via questionnaire, so it was suggested to add some practical activities that can be participated in. Cao Chunhao suggested that the issue name should highlight the discussing and problematic nature, and should be presented in the form of a question throughout the whole topic.
Wang Yingshui, from Fuxin Primary School of Rongcheng Town, Shandong, introduced the topic of “Whether Rongcheng Seaweed House Need to be Inherited”. The activities of this project are divided into four parts, including “understanding the present situation and development prospect of seaweed house (4 classes)”, “understanding the cultural significance of Rongcheng Seaweed House (4 classes)”, “how to repair and protect seaweed house (3 classes)”, “what can we do for the inheritance and protection of seaweed house (4 classes)”. This project has already implemented 8 classes, wherein the already completed practical activities contained field observation of seaweed house of Xu family in Dazhuang village, seaweed house painted by children, interview of residents living in seaweed house, interview of the craftsman, and the following activities include visiting Yujiaao Display Hall of Rongcheng Museum, field research in Laoshan Village of Xilongjia, writing research reports, and making models of seaweed house.
Xie Kaixuan remarked that this topic is relatively mature, with reference value in below several points: the intuitive topic with local characteristics can make the students feel more involved; the activity forms are diversified with more participation, in order to train the students’ comprehensive competence, which is especially distinctive in the training of language expression ability; the implementation integrates the education of love of hometown, which is a very good way for moral education in SSI-L project.
Lin Jing suggested each teacher to do proper reflection in practice. During the reflection of implementation process of the class, it should return to the top-level design of the activity, using students’ learning performance as evidence to keep polishing the activity target positioning, star chart and detailed design of activity plan. Additionally, Lin suggested that teachers can focus on the problems encountered in the design and implementation when sharing, and teachers can conduct brainstorming concentrating on the problems to give play to the value of the team’s online discussion. Lin Jing also explained the similarities and differences among STEM, PBL and SSI-L, proposing that firstly we should not conceptually assimilate the three definitions, because the three have their own generating background, target positioning and implementation strategy. Secondly we should not put the three in opposition, because they are all aiming at cultivating and developing students’ transferable and life-long beneficial thinking and literacy, and there is no need to deliberately divide them. Finally there is no need to locate the upper and lower or smaller and larger relationships between them, because their research perspective and practice entry point are not in the same dimension, so there is no subordinate relationship among them. Therefore, in the SSI-L studying process, we should tightly hold the SSI-L concept and target to carry out activity design and class implementation, using SSI-L as the carrier to promote the development of ourselves and students. In the meantime, there is no fixed method in education, so it is necessary to promote the implementation of SSI-L educational goals via multiple teaching and learning strategies and developmental evaluation, to improve the effectiveness of activities.