Learning | 16 November 2022

Why was Mahia Magic your top issue? The story behind the Issue

Why was Mahia Magic your top issue? [Student] “Because I am very interested in astronomy”

Major local/global events now get the focus and scrutiny they deserve.  Perhaps our own experiences and expectations confined us to labelling parts of a microscope – while in Gisborne, Kiwi innovation and ingenuity led to the launch of the first commercial rocket – ever.  Perhaps we, the educators at the coalface, can, and should, adjust the stage.

NZC has a strong focus on citizenship science.  Learning about science is important for all students, not just those aiming for science careers.  Science education’s goal is to develop students who ‘can participate as critical, informed and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role’ (NZC).  Science students yearn for active learning, fun and engaging activities that help them to make sense of their world (Beaton, 2017).  While science knowledge continues to develop, Barker (2010) believes the nature of science strand in NZC already has the required skills and capabilities to prepare students for lifelong science learning, set in its framework. However, Gluckman (2011) cautions that the appearance of new words in official curriculum documents has had very little effect on the way science is taught in schools.

‘The issue of the week’, is a chance for young people to use creative, critical, and metacognitive processes to make sense of information, experiences, and ideas. These processes are then applied to developing understanding, making decisions, shaping actions, or constructing knowledge. This simple resource can contribute to the citizenship goal by nurturing student interest in the world around them.

We learn a lot online but don’t know how much is true. Also, some common ‘facts’ can be myths, and I’d rather not go ignorant during my life.”  – student feedback on the issue of the week.

Both Honan et al. (2009) and Beane (1997) encourage students to have a genuine say in the classroom.  To “think and act collectively against the grain of existing social arrangements towards a more equitable social world” (Honan et al 2009, p.78).  Schools can aim to enable students to become active and involved citizens who are aware of scientific and social issues that affect them and their world.

Science for now and the future

Exploring complex contextual problems in science can be supported through the issue of the week. This dynamic 21st century pedagogical approach enables students to build knowledge, co-construct learning and form opinions based on evidence.  Individual views and culture are valued, learner’s ideas are informed, challenged and extended as we strive to help them to develop positive attitudes toward Science.

Issue of the Week 45 / 2022

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