On December 22, 2021, from 19:30 to 21:30, the elementary school team of the SSI-L Project of Beijing Normal University held an online seminar to discuss the design and the implementation of the SSI-L project in six schools. Mr. Cao Chunhao, the principal of the primary school section of SSI-L project team and the special-grade science teacher of the Teaching and Research Center of Tongzhou District, Beijing, hosted the meeting.
CAI Xuejiao, a teacher of Wenhui Elementary School, Pingcheng District, Datong City, Shanxi Province, introduced the modification and the implementation of the topic “Can we eat school Gate snacks?” Based on the advice given by experts in previous discussions, the team redesigned the plan and divided the project into two parts which are health and nutrition. The team has implemented the first two activities based on the original plan. Next semester’s activities will follow the new plan. Mr. PENG Menghua, the project guiding experts, the special-grade teacher of physical disciplines, and the teacher of No.2 affiliated high school of Beijing normal university mentioned that since the government has attached great importance on the food security, it may be hard to find the safety issue of those snakes. He suggested the team emphasize more on nutrition and expand the content to the types of goods sold at small shops near schools, and the consumption habits of students.
GAO Rui, a teacher from Science and Technology Experimental Elementary School, Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, introduced their project “Will my eyes be myopic?” The topic includes several subjects and involves several contents such as science, morality, economy, culture, and politics. Activities were designed based on 6 driven questions and the preparation, practice process and outcomes will be evaluated through group presentations, mutual evaluations and teachers’ evaluations respectively. XIE Kaixun, a teacher from Yuhe Elementary School in Pingcheng District, Datong city, Shanxi Province threw out three suggestions: 1) Change the word “banned” of the second driven question “Should students be banned from using mobile phones?” to a more controversial phrase, and expand the subject from “cell phones” to “electronic devices”. 2) Modify the fourth driven question to “Would you choose glasses or surgery to correct visual acuity?” to better connect with the third driven question. 3) The fifth driven question “Is the eye exercise good for eye protection?” could be merged to the sixth driven question “How to protect your eyes in your daily life?”. Increase the class hour number of the Fifth and the Sixth, give more information on acupoints in the eye exercise and introduce different kinds of eye drops and so on.
ZHOU Chunjuan, a teacher from Fuxin Elementary School, Rongcheng City, Shandong Province, introduced the design and the implementation of the school’s third SSI-L project “Landscape lights”. The project includes 6 activities. Students raised many questions and were passionate about social investigation and interviews. They were quite engaged in the activities and had a better understanding of landscape lighting through activities. However, because many former students entered junior high schools, and a lot of new students who were afraid to speak up were added in, in the follow-up activities, the school will pay more attention to the mentor system. WANG Qinyuan, a teacher from Jiancheng No. 1 Elementary School, Jianyang City, Chengdu City, Sichuan Province suggested that regional characteristics of Rongcheng landscape lights such as iconic landscape lights, the relationship between lighting and local culture, and the changing of local landscape lights should be considered as well. Dr. Lin Jing, the Director of the Science Education Improvement Department of China Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment for Basic Education Quality hoped that those activities could train students to think and practice in a scientific way.
ZHANG Kexin, a teacher from Yizhuang New Town School affiliated to Renmin University of China, introduced their SSI-L project design of “Looking for home for Milu Deer”. The project includes two driven questions: 1) Whether the school can help the milu deer find a suitable place for protection, 2) What efforts should we make to improve the living environment of the milu deer. Based on that, the team designed 8 activities such as modeling, debate, field study, interview, principal dialogue, and school promotion. The learning performance would be evaluated by the token program. CAO Chunhao believed that the team should highlight the controversy of the issue at the beginning part a bit more.
YANG Ran, a teacher from Qianshan Road Elementary School, Weihai City, Shandong Province, introduced the modification and implementation of their SSI-L project of “Whether the school garden base can be turned into a Lavender garden”. The topic has been adjusted according to the previous practice. The team designed 6 driven questions and activities such as experiment, investigation, drawing, and debate. Students’ performance in the debate was also introduced in detail. AN Tongjuan, a teacher from Wanghaiyuan Middle School in Weihai City, Shandong Province advised changing the topic to “Whether lavender is feasible as a species of urban plant”, to highlight the sociality and the ethics in the five-star map. CAO Chunhao asked, in the background part, the team raised an idea that “pocket garden can make the surrounding more colorful”, how to address the conflicts in the issue?
WEI Qiuyan, a teacher from Shangdi Experimental Elementary School, Haidian District, Beijing, introduced the design of the SSI-L project “How to best control the COVID-19 outbreak”. The school held a mock WHO conference, with the theme of COVID-19 prevention and control, and carries out eight activities. Those activities were designed based on five aspects, which are science, morality, culture, politics, and economy, aiming to cultivate students’ ability of reasoning and the right values. AN Tongjuan suggested the team choose two opposite points as the driven question and offered 3 proposals: 1) those two opposite views could be the dispute between gaining herd immunity through planned vaccination and natural infection; 2) adding the economic input of pandemic prevention and the economic loss caused by the pandemic to the economic aspect of the five Star chart; 3) raising people’s awareness on respecting human life in the ethical part. KONG Pengfei, a teacher at Shichang Middle School in Weihai city, Shandong Province, believed that teachers should pay attention to students’ knowledge base on this issue. Mr. PENG Menghua doubted, it is hard for students to understand difficult issues such as political games between countries and cultural differences. Dr. Lin Jing said that the prevention and control of COVID-19 could involve a wide range of areas. We should first choose topics that the elementary students could explore and then carry out activities. The mock WHO conference is not the best choice for elementary students since it requires strong cross-cultural literacy.
Dr. Lin Jing summarized the session and reminded all teachers of three aspects. First, teachers should pay attention to the top-level design of the star chart in the peer dicussions and comments, and should spend more time pondering the five-star chart while modifying plans of SSI-L projects. Second, before designing activities, students’ cognitive level and mental skills should be carefully considered. If a problem cannot be discussed from the scientific principles level due to the limitations of students’ knowledge base, students are encouraged to explore through facts and phenomena, which will be beneficial in building a preliminary scientific understanding and the value judgment. Third, teams with certain experiences should both gradually highlight the cultivation of the scientific thinking and practices for students, and the embedded assessment system in the project design.