Urban Development Versus Nature Preservation – A burning SSI for the Lapid school

Urbanization is a global movement with huge impacts on nature and its resources. In a small country with a rich ecology and biodiversity on the one hand, and rapidly expanding population, on the other hand, urban development versus nature preservation is an especially burning socio-scientific issue (SSI). What will be the fate of nature reserves and the fauna and flora inhabiting them? On the other hand, development with housing, schools, community services and institutions, roads and other infrastructure for local economy is needed. Will people now have to drive long distances to spend a day outside in nature? Development versus nature preservation involves diverse stakeholders with different and often conflicting interests. Who has to gain and what is gained? Who has to lose and what is lost? These are just some of the dilemmas involved in the SSI of 'Development versus Nature Preservation'. It's not surprising that this topic was selected as this year's socio-scientific issue (SSI) by the Lapid elementary school.

Working together with societal actors in SSIBL : Pupils in action at Novaplus.

SSIBL is a didactic approach to science education that has three distinct phases: asking questions about socio-scientific issues (ASK), conducting research to find answers to those questions (FIND OUT) and moving into action to take steps forward (ACT). Within the COSMOS project, we go one step further and deploy SSIBL as a methodology to engage in open schooling. An important aspect of this is that teachers, pupils and actors from society work together on the socio-scientific issue. They can do so within one or any phase of SSIBL, and a key challenge is therefore to identify and engage with these societal actors.

Artificial intelligence, a hot topic

After the launch of ChatGPT in November 2022 Artificial intelligence (AI) became a hot topic in many organisations, not least in schools. When the primary school Vikstaskolan in Sweden joined the Cosmos project AI was of great interest among the teachers and the students. What is AI, is it good? Is it bad? Is it more than ChatGPT? Will people lose their jobs? Can AI help students in their studies? With all these, and many more questions in mind, the teachers decided that working with a project about AI, using the approach presented in the COSMOS project, would be an interesting model to explore during some weeks, both for their students and themselves.

It's the day before the Christmas break at Anna van Rijn College. At 8.30, 23 grade 11 students are watching a big screen. Will it be a Xmas movie?

No, biology teacher Manon Ockeloen is showing headlines from a current news feed saying that only half of the students their age are vaccinated against HPV. Is that a problem? For whom, only girls? The Ask-phase of the lesson has started. Before discussing this, students write down their own motivation for their vaccination decision. In addition, they place themselves against 3 statements on the topic on a Likert scale. For example, with safe sex, you don’t need an HPV vaccination. Or HPV vaccination is only useful for girls. At the end of the lesson, students again take a position.