Research Briefs: Controversial Issues in the Science Classroom

Document Type

College of Education- Research Briefs Videos

Video Length

3 minutes 48 seconds

Publication Date



Given that formal opportunities for individuals to learn about, discuss, and debate socioscientific issues begins to wane after high school, it is imperative that students are provided ample opportunity to do so throughout the formative years of K-12 education. The purpose of this work is to offer a socioscientific issues approach to instruction that teachers can use to enhance students’ understanding of the science concepts that undergird these issues but also positions students to recognize and evaluate the various societal components that must be addressed when attempting to resolve them. If schools expect to promote civil discourse that begins to bridge the partisan divide concerning contemporary contentious scientific issues, we suggest that engaging learners in the thoughtful negotiation of SSI can be a useful and effective pedagogical approach.

Owens, D. C., Sadler, T. D., & Zeidler, D. L. (2017). Controversial issues in the science classroom. Phi Delta Kappan, 99(4), 45-49.


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