- Prof. David Fortus
- Natasha Segal
For too long, science education has failed to connect with the lives, interests and concerns of its students, who are constantly faced with global issues such as pandemics, climate change, diminishing biodiversity, or fresh water shortage – issues that are reshaping the most basic aspects of their present and future lives. We refer to these complex and multifaceted issues as Grand Challenges (GCs). Despite students’ growing concern with these GCs, school science classes typically focus on the teaching of aloof scientific principles which have little or no relation to these real-world social and ethical scientifically informed issues. This project aims to restructure middle school science education around GCs, and around the desire of science students to be well-informed on these subjects and to develop agency regarding them.
We recognize that addressing only GCs will not fully represent the entire breadth of the scientific enterprise, as well as possibly raising the level of anxiety suffered by some students, and may not prove as exciting to students who are better captivated by more surprising and exotic scientific concepts. Therefore, we also include an emphasis on Topics of Wonderment (TOWs), which are issues and ideas that are more likely to capture students’ interest and inspire awe, thus motivating their engagement.Contact us