From 19:00 to 20:40 pm, April 27, 2022, the SSI Learning Project Team of Beijing Normal University held an online seminar themed “How to incorporate scientific thinking into SSI Learning” via Tencent Rooms. The keynote speaker, Fan Xiaofeng from Zhuzhou Gofront Middle School of Hunan Province, shared the school’s experience and thinking in project practice. Lin Jing, director of Science Development Department of Collaborative Innovation Center of Assessment for Basic Education Quality at Beijing Normal University, Tan Yongping, director of the Biology Office of the People’s Education Press, and Zhou Youxiang, a Speical-Rank Teacher of the No. 1 Middle School in Changping District of Beijing, attended the meeting and offered suggestions.
Fan Xiaofeng introduced the project background and took the issue of Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit System (ART) and urban transportation as an example to share the practice of integrating scientific thinking in SSI Learning in Zhuzhou Gofront Middle School. This issue is broken down into three motivating questions: why the Zhuzhou Municipal Government needs ART, what difficulties has Zhuzhou ART come across in the actual operation, and whether the utilization of ART is to solve or aggravate traffic congestion. Students are required to express their positions, find evidence to support their arguments and make refutations. As they delve into the research issue, students need to further clarify their views and have multiple rounds of debate. Fan summed up the experience of integrating scientific thinking in SSI Learning into a few points: 1. The motivating questions themselves must be scientific, explorable and operable; 2. The motiving questions must be close to student’s life and real situation, and achieve the unity between theory and practice; 3. The design of motivating questions should have critical thinking and openness; 4. Guiding students to use scientific means and methods (such as questionnaires, statistics, interviews, data inquiry, etc.) to conduct scientific verification; 5. During the confrontation of ideas, guiding students to look at problems comprehensively and dialectically and develop their opinions. Fan also raised two questions based on school practice: 1. Does each of the SSI Learning projects need to consider the unity of science and society? 2. When the project activities are completed, should we start a new project or continue to delve further into the same one?
Tan Yongping commented that integrating scientific thinking in SSI Learning is a good point to start with, because thinking can combine different disciplinary content or laws. The core of scientific thinking is rational thinking, and the core of rational thinking is logic. Students should first distinguish arguments and evidence from the viewpoints they come up with, and differentiate their arguments at various levels to find the relationship and logic between evidence. Then they should compare, support and refute the arguments from different positions, so as to remake their judgements. In the end, they should seek common ground while reserving differences, debate on equal foots, and think in multiple ways in accordance with the basic principles of scientific thinking. In short, it is recommended to further sort out the work to make scientific thinking more explicit. For the second question, it is recommended to iteratively design a certain topic worth doing, so as to explore more scientific thinking content and have a further development and extension of the topic.
Zhou Youxiang pointed out that Gofront Middle School has a clear plan throughout project preparation, team formation and curriculum implementation. The issue selection of ART has regional characteristics. In activity design, if students can establish a local model according to the situation they have understood, it can explicate their scientific thinking. On this point, it’s recommended to learn from argumentative teaching. If students have their own claims, list correspondent evidence to clarify their claims and refute other opposite claims, they will have scientificity and scientific thinking. When a project is completed, it is recommended to start a new one. Students may gain even more in the process of continuous improvement of issue design.
Lin Jing shared the scientific literacy dimensions and connotations of PISA, NGSS, the scientific literacy monitoring indicators of primary and secondary school students, and the plan to improve scientific literacy for primary and secondary school students. Through the introduction of cutting-edge theories, Lin offered guidance to further think about how to integrate scientific thinking into SSI Learning and expand the existing ideas. Lin Jing first pointed out the similarities and differences between thinking and scientific thinking, as well as the unique value of scientific thinking in science education. She then illustrated that scientific thinking and scientific knowledge are inseparable, in a way that without scientific thinking, the scientific knowledge obtained by students can easily be static, difficult to transfer and use. Therefore, in SSI-L teaching, it is necessary to constantly reflect, make breakthroughs, and ask questions about the depth and strength of scientific thinking training provided to students. At the same time, Lin also mentioned that the main channel for SSI-L to integrate scientific thinking is the student-centered science practice activities, by means of the group cooperative inquiry driven by the SSI-L issue, and the design of specific scientific thinking training in each step of scientific inquiry.
Lin Jing further pointed out that the high-quality SSI learning will develop students’ scientific thinking, so the project team must proactively explore in this direction. Everyone must dare to question, reform, and innovate. For this reason, the project team discussion needs to reflect, question, discuss and support each other, so as to more effectively improve the quality of project design and implementation, and develop their ability to implement literacy education.