Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning as a Means toward Environmental Citizenship
- To provide an epistemological foundation for the SSIBL model, as a powerful pedagogical approach to support education for environmental citizenship;
- To illustrate how the SSIBL pedagogy has been operationalized in four different countries through teacher education;
- To provide concrete co-designed learning scenarios to apply relevant transdisciplinary knowledge and a value-based orientation to develop a commitment to environmental socio-political action at personal and communal levels.
2. Theoretical Background
2.1. Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning (SSIBL)
- ASK, which focuses on posing authentic questions framed within particular SSI-based perspectives that can be investigated by students;
- FIND OUT, which focuses on students enacting or carrying out different types of socially responsible inquiries (structured, guided, open)  in order to collect evidence and unveil different perspectives to answer their questions; and finally,
- ACT, which focuses on how active citizenship is enacted by students, who consider the outcomes of their investigations and devise appropriate forms of action (e.g., campaigning for climate action, writing to their local authorities) that can empower them to contribute responsibly within their communities, at local, national or global levels [18,19].
2.2. Critical Realism as a Background Epistemology to SSIBL
Values, Transdisciplinarity and Emergence
2.3. SSIBL as a Pedagogical Means toward Environmental Citizenship
3. Implementation of SSIBL in Different National Contexts
3.1. SSIBL in The Netherlands
3.1.2. Reflective Points
3.2. SSIBL in Spain
3.3. SSIBL in England
3.3.2. Reflective Points
3.4. SSIBL in Cyprus
- Endangered species (lower secondary biology education and elementary science group one);
- Biodiesel or petroleum diesel (lower secondary chemistry education);
- Disinfecting drinking water (upper secondary chemistry education);
- Which shopping bag should you use (elementary science group one).
- Creation of a survey on the use of plastic bags, which was administered to peers, teachers and parents and was used during the students’ decision making;
- Creating informational leaflets and sharing them with their peers, their parents and from door to door in their neighborhood;
- Creating fabric bags from reusable materials and explaining their advantages;
- Participating in a TV show;
- Participating in awareness campaigns, including video conferences, with students in other schools;
- Proposing mitigation measures to the Mayor, the Environment Commissioner, the Minister of Education and Culture and to Parliament.
“…the only thing I can say is that many times we can ask our students something and they do not remember anything or remember very fragmented information. In contrast, through this program the children learned a lot of things, and they kept them in their memory, because they learned them on their own, we did not teach them. They found out on their own, they discussed them on their own, they supported them on their own, they communicated them to others on their own, so when this knowledge became their experience, they learned it better…this is definitely something they will not forget, as we see unfortunately happening with the lessons we do in our other subjects.”Teacher, 4th grade, Elementary Education Co-Design Group 1.
3.4.2. Reflective Points
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|SSIBL Phase||Educational Stages||Activity in the Lesson Plan|
|(i) Introduction of the dilemma||Documentary on the SSI|
|ASK||(ii) Initial opinion-forming||Answering questions individually during the documentary, with subsequent discussion|
|(iii) Creating a need-to-know||Making students experience the different perspectives of stakeholders, raising normative and content-related questions|
|FIND OUT||(iv) Inquiry into scientific, social and personal aspects of the dilemma||Listing stakeholders and discussing their views (social inquiry), seeking information on the potential toxicology of C8 and carrying out the titration experiment of river water sample (scientific inquiry), exploring their own position during the controversy line activity (personal inquiry)|
|(v) Dialogue||Discussion about the dilemma, based on different statements (personal inquiry)|
|ACT||(vi) Decision making||Looking back on first opinion and on previous activities by answering reflective questionsWriting an argument to substantiate their point of view|
|(vii) Reflection||Reflective questions about students’ learning process and progress|
|SSIBL Phase||Lesson Element||Specifications|
|ASK||Overarching question||Which type of masks would you choose to wear and why, to protect yourself and others from COVID-19?|
|Guiding questions||What do you need to know about masks and COVID-19 in order to make a good decision?|
Which different aspects might influence decision making (health and safety, economic, environmental, social, etc.)?
How does SARS-CoV-2 infect people?
How do masks protect people from infection?
Concerning sustainability issues:
What is the mask made of?
Where do the raw materials come from?
How, where and under what conditions are they produced?
How long are the transport routes to bring raw materials and final products?
How often is the product used and how is it disposed of?
|FIND OUT||Social research||Making a survey to know about mask preferences and health and environmental awareness among the local population.|
Researching about the life cycle of a particular product (different types of masks).
Collecting key information from reliable information sources.
|Experimental research||Analysis of masks’ permeability to coloured liquids sprayed from various distances|
Observations of pathogens’ infections depending on distances: The situation might be modelled checking infection over time among pieces of fruits located at different distances from mouldy oranges.
|Content knowledge||Maths: Making estimation and calculations (costs, life cycles, usage, etc.); length units applicable at small scales|
Biology: Health and virus (size, infection, reproduction cycle, activation, etc.)
Physics and chemistry: materials’ properties, dissolutions.
|Transdisciplinary||Maths, Biology, Physics and Chemistry|
Social research and experimental research
|ACT||Attitudes and values||Developing a sense of responsibility and care about common health and safety.|
Awareness of the environmental impact of daily products.
Developing criticality towards the reliability of information sources.
|Competences||Designing experiments to test ideas|
Analysing data from different sources, including media and freely available articles and reports.
Identifying different aspects influencing decision making (environmental, economic, socio-cultural, health and safety issues)
Making informed decisions based on evidence and social and environmental responsibility.
|Action-taking||Distribution of leaflets to their community with key information for making informed decisions about COVID-19 and masks.|
|Levels within the ACT Phase||Evidence from Lesson Materials|
|L1—Raising Awareness of issue: Students create a presentation summarizing their findings||Science in Society—Energy Sources topic|
Τo collect evidence about a specific case study (of an energy source, e.g., fossil fuels)
Τo create an action plan for this case study
Τo create a presentation outlining what you have found
(Source: PPT slides)
|L2—Intention to Act: Students make presentations of their findings to other groups and students suggest a course of action they would take personally and justify it||In the second lesson, students will be expected to summarize what action they would take and why|
(Source: lesson plan)
What I think should be done (and why).
(Source: student handout)
|L2—Intention to Act: At the end, take a vote in class on what the council should do about the energy plant||[Students] will take a vote as well|
(Source: student handout)
|L2—Intention to Act: Students suggest and justify the course of action they would take personally||Science in Society—Recycling topic|
Your final task for this lesson is to summarize what you have learned! Before you can leave, you’ll need to tell me:
- What YOU would do about the plastic bags
- Why you would do it
(Source: PPT slides)
What I think Sustown should do about plastic bags: I think that the best thing for Sustown to do is:………………………………… I think this because……………………
(Source: Student handout)
|L2-Intention to Act: Students suggest and justify the course of action they would take personally, with emphasis on social wellbeing||Science in Society—‘Digging for Trouble’ topic|
Your task is to research the case study you have been given and decide what needs to be done to fix any problems in the area. Include:
- What is being mined and what is it used for?
- Who benefits from the mine?
- Who is harmed by it?
- What would you do to keep everyone happy? Why?
(Source: PPT slides)
|SSIBL Phase||Main Activities|
|ASK||The learning activity begins with the following event, presented to the students via an animation their teachers prepared: A family is at a supermarket cashier, who presents them with the following three alternatives to carry their groceries: Plastic, biodegradable, or fabric bags? The students’ mission is to find out which is the most environmentally sustainable and appropriate choice to carry their groceries.|
|FIND OUT||The students work in groups following the collaborative inquiry—jigsaw puzzle approach. Each group adopts the perspective of one of the following main stakeholder groups: plastic bag factory owners, consumers and environmental organizations. The students interpret various information sources, collected by their teachers and themselves (i.e., from comics, videos, articles, interviews, posters), which represent the differing viewpoints of the main stakeholders to prepare an evidence-based answer to the driving question.|
|ACT||Following the work of the expert and synthesis groups (of the jigsaw puzzle approach), the students collectively decided to take several actions to raise their community’s awareness about the use of plastic bags and the informed decision to use alternative solutions.|
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Ariza, M.R.; Christodoulou, A.; van Harskamp, M.; Knippels, M.-C.P.J.; Kyza, E.A.; Levinson, R.; Agesilaou, A. Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning as a Means toward Environmental Citizenship. Sustainability 2021, 13, 11509. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011509
Ariza MR, Christodoulou A, van Harskamp M, Knippels M-CPJ, Kyza EA, Levinson R, Agesilaou A. Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning as a Means toward Environmental Citizenship. Sustainability. 2021; 13(20):11509. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011509Chicago/Turabian Style
Ariza, Marta R., Andri Christodoulou, Michiel van Harskamp, Marie-Christine P. J. Knippels, Eleni A. Kyza, Ralph Levinson, and Andria Agesilaou. 2021. "Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning as a Means toward Environmental Citizenship" Sustainability 13, no. 20: 11509. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011509