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      Participatory Inquiries That Promote Consideration of Socio-Scientific Issues Related to Sustainability within Three Different Contexts: Agriculture, Botany and Palaeontology

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      Sustainability
      MDPI AG

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          Abstract

          The involvement of students in dramatised inquiries, through participatory activity, offers opportunities to act in-role as scientists. The inquiries can ‘set-the-scene’, provide context and challenges for students to consider possibilities within and beyond everyday life. This approach can engage students in thinking about sustainability and developing citizenship competencies, such as thinking scientifically and critiquing ideas, interrogating evidence and assessing the validity of information, as well as decision making and problem solving. In this paper, adopting stories from the history of science is shown to provide rich, authentic contexts that engage students imaginatively and collaboratively in addressing past, present and future socio-scientific issues. To demonstrate how the approach can be adapted we drew on the work of three scientists: an agriculturalist; a botanist and a palaeontologist. Their scientific work informed the learning activities of several primary science lessons (with students aged 9–10). The agricultural activities were informed by the work of George Washington Carver and were related to improving soil quality through crop rotation as well as thinking about the diversity of food and other products that can be produced from plants. The botanically informed activities promoted understanding about processes linked to maintaining species diversity. These drew on the work of Marianne North, a Victorian botanical artist, noted for her detailed plant observations. The final socio-scientific context was related to the work of Mary Anning, a pioneering 19th century palaeontologist, who made significant fossil discoveries that contributed to the understanding of geology and evolution. Interactive and participatory activities, informed by the lives and work of these scientists, were designed to engage students in socio-scientific inquiry-based learning through a drama-based pedagogy. These dramatised inquiries promoted the development of scientific citizenship competencies. Scrutiny of data collected through multiple methods suggested that, by extending opportunities for learners to participate in these dramatised lessons, understanding sustainability became more salient for the students. Outcomes suggest several distinctive affordances offered by dramatisation when supporting understanding about sustainability and the development of scientific citizenship.

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          Most cited references19

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          Situated learning in science education: socio‐scientific issues as contexts for practice

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
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                Journal
                SUSTDE
                Sustainability
                Sustainability
                MDPI AG
                2071-1050
                April 2023
                April 19 2023
                : 15
                : 8
                : 6895
                Article
                10.3390/su15086895
                72c39d51-aba7-473e-b918-915d76c9ff00
                © 2023

                https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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