On September 8, 2021, from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm, the high school group of the SSI-L learning project held an online meeting via the Tencent conference room, discussing the project plan and curriculum arrangement for the new semester. The meeting was hosted by Dr. Lin Jing, the Project Leader, and participated by the high school section leaders, subject experts, principals of partner schools, liaisons and backbone teachers.
Ms. Jia Qian from Beijing No.9 High School introduced the design framework of her school’s project “Multidisciplinary and Multidimensional Analysis of the Scientific Prevention and Control of COVID-19”. The curriculum was divided into four modules, namely, “review of pandemics in history”, “physical model in pandemic”, “the role of chemical agents in pandemic prevention and control”, “biology and prevention and control of pandemic”, and “the role of chemical agents in pandemic prevention and control”. It covered chemistry, physics, biology and other disciplines, and planned to last for 2-3 semesters as an elective course for senior one and senior two students, emphasizing the whole process of guiding students to understand the significance, to explore the principles, to master the content and methods, and to draw conclusions of the research. Ms. Jia pointed out that she learned a lot about various subjects through SSI-L research and practice, during which students also improved their scientific thinking and experimental hands-on skills, and enhanced their sense of social responsibility and patriotism.
Ms. Gao Xiaoxu, the liaison of Beijing No.9 High School, thought that the choice of topic names did not have to be controversial, as long as the topics were social and scientific in nature. Dr. Lin Jing agreed that being controversial did not necessarily have to be reflected in the name, but should be in the complexity, openness and diversity of the solutions to the driving issues raised in the context of the topic.
Principal Lin Yueguang of Beijing No.9 High School added that this topic was designed and developed by a research team of teachers from several disciplines and would be implemented in the school for one consecutive school year.
Mr. Han Lixin, from the Second High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University, introduced their new topic, “Should Solar Photovoltaic Systems Be Applied on a Large Scale at This Stage? — An Exploration of the Construction and Application Scenarios of Solar Photovoltaic System”. This topic was based on the school’s existing program, which was then expanded into the SSI-L activity. The existing curriculum included three major tasks, designing a solar street light system, pre-site selection and management of a photovoltaic power plant, and exploring a rich and diverse range of photovoltaic application scenarios. Mr. Han informed the attendants that geography and political science teachers were being invited to participate in developing a star map across disciplines.
Dr. Lin suggested that the topic could be expanded from the perspective of environmental protection and energy issues, and that a topic learning context could be created around the use of solar energy as a clean energy source for viable local solutions to energy problems. Mr. Peng Menghua emphasized that solar cells were closely related to the high school curriculum and that students could better understand electricity by understanding the principles of energy conversion and production. The geography teachers could contribute more to the curriculum content such as energy distribution and solar energy application results.
Ms. Zhang Ya, from the High School Affiliated to Beijing Normal University, introduced their topic “Socio-scientific Issues in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic”. It was planned to be an elective course among senior one student, jointly conducted by biology and chemistry teachers. This course would focus on the spread and prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic, with three sub-topics: wildlife and viruses, vaccine development, and the preparation of home disinfectants.
Mr. Zhou Youxiang, from Changping No. 1 High School in Beijing, introduced the new topic “Carbon Neutrality” selected by his school. The curriculum team was consisted of a dozen teachers from different disciplines, who designed the course content based on different topics. The curriculum will be developed in late October or early November, and 20 outstanding senior students would be selected to work on it in student clubs.
Ms. Cheng Li, Vice Principal of Beijing 101 High School, said that their International Department would continue to implement the three existing socio-scientific issues and consider pooling the strengths of the faculty in the next round of curriculum development to further strengthen the interdisciplinary integration. Mr. Li Yongping from Jiufang High School in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province and Ms. Yang Ying from Experimental High School Attached to Shanxi Normal University introduced the preliminary topics “Smart Rail and Urban Transportation” and “Dust Pollution and Economic Development” respectively, and talked about the difficulties in implementing the topics.
Mr. Tan Yongping commented that each school had formed a general topic direction and team structure, and it was important to put emphasis on classroom practice and interdisciplinary discussion while making a fair curriculum design. Dr. Lin Jing summarized the meeting from three aspects, firstly, each school should make use of the advantages of multi-disciplinary teachers and form interdisciplinary teams to collaborate in course preparation so as to inspire each other and open up their horizons; secondly, the content of the topics should assist students with their college entrance examinations, be subject related, focus on practical problems and meet the requirements of the curriculum; thirdly, the power of expert teams should be brought into play to develop communication channels and open up the classroom teaching through offline visits or online communication, so that they could provide full professional support to teachers in each school.