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Environmental Socio-Scientific Issues in Initial Teacher Education

Modules for teachers in higher education on environmental socio-scientific issues

Discover 12 open access teaching modules on environmental socio-scientific issues (SSI) to prepare pre-service teachers for a timely science and mathematics education. The modules cover subject knowledge of environmental SSIs and how to deal with them, implications for learning & teaching processes, pedagogical concepts to lesson design, and the role of teachers’ backgrounds in affecting the teaching of SSI. The ENSITE modules for HEI can be used in lectures, seminars, or workshops.

12 modules support teachers in:


Development of competences in dealing with environmental SSI themselves.

  • O1 Nature of SSI
  • O2 Reasoning & critical thinking
  • O3 Collecting data
  • O4 Analysing big data
  • O5 Decision-making
  • O6 Negotiating social, political or ethical dimensions in SSI


Acquiring teaching skills to support your students in developing competences in environmental SSI.

  • O7 Aims of SSI and the curriculum
  • O8 Beliefs on teaching SSI
  • O9 Designing an SSI lesson I, focus on didactics
  • O10 Designing an SSI lesson II, focus on methods
  • O11 Scaffolding
  • O12 SSI and assessment

The nature of Socio-Scientific-Issues

Covid-19 Vaccination, Building of Wind Turbines in Populated Areas, Electric Cars vs Fuel Powered Cars

Use this module and the guidelines as a basis and introduction of environmental socio-scientific issues for all other modules.


Reasoning, Argumentation & Critical Thinking

Pesticides, biodiversity, ecosystem, ecology, argumentation

To provide resources and strategies to help prospective teachers to grasp underlying ideas and to create effective learning environments for reasoning, argumentation and critical thinking.


Collecting data

Epidemic Data, Basic Principles for Collecting Data, Data Collection Tools

To present a foundation for data collection and data analysis in the context of environmental data sources to be used in lectures and seminars for mathematics and science students in the initial teacher education.


Analysing big data

Trajectory from Raw Data to Data Visualization in the Context of Global Warming, Ecological Footprints, Good and Misleading Practices

To let students explore and visualize datasets and how visualizations can be used to tell (different) stories about environmental issues.



Food as multi context phenomenon, Food Market

To provide resources, strategies, and activities for developing competences of prospective science teachers in decision-making based on confronting scientific positions on example of food provision for the world.


Negotiating Social, Political or Ethical Dimensions in Socio-Scientific Issues

Velocities, Acoustics, Effects of Noise on Health, Environmental Problems Caused by Mobility, Economic and Social Aspects of Mobility

Discover meaningful circumstances in the direct everyday environment that can be used for SSI teaching.


Aims of Socio-Scientific Issues and the Curriculum

Theoretical Frameworks for Analysing Students’ Argumentation, Classroom Tasks, Evaluating Students’ Tasks

Show aspects of how environmental socio-scientific issues (EnvSSI) are related to educational objectives, how they are intended in the curricula and can be implemented in the classroom.


Beliefs on Teaching Socio-Scientific Issues

Beliefs about Teaching SSI, Questionnaire, Invasive Species, Alternative Source of Protein, Pedagogical Approaches

This module helps pre-service teachers recognize how their own beliefs, narratives, cultural backgrounds, and personal identities can influence their choice to teach and how to teach SSI.


Developing a Socia-Scientific issue lesson I - Focus on didactic aspects

Plastic Dilemma as SSI, History & Background of Plastics, Plastic Categories & Properties, Environment, Microplastics, Recycling, Waste, Designing a Lesson

Support pre-service teachers in designing SSI lessons on plastic waste, that are related to ESD and IBL.


Designing a Socio-Scientific Issue Lesson II - Focus on Methods

Aircraft Transport, Running Water, Science in Outdoor Observations, Tree as Important Environmental Object, Water as the Source of Energy, Carbon Footprint

Designing an SSI lesson & enables pre-service teachers to support their students in developing creativity, critical thinking, and reasoning.



Forest, Climate Change

A module for HE to be used in lectures and seminars for science and mathematics students in ITE to show pre-service teachers how they can support their students in dealing with a complex environmental SSI by providing a scaffolding framework.


Socio-Scientific Issues and Assessment

Environment, Fireworks, IBL, Student Learning Assessment

Pre-service teachers have the opportunity to reflect on how students' learning may be assessed in lessons involving SSIs. They develop competences related to assessment of content and skills related to dealing with SSIs.


Legend for modules that are closely connected to each other:

O3 Collecting data & O4 Analysing big data

O7 Aims of socio-scientific-issues and the curriculum & O8

Beliefs on teaching socio-scientific-issues

O9 Designing a socio-scientific lesson I, focus on didactics & O10 Designing a socio-scientific lesson II, focus on methods

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The creation of these resources has been co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union under grant no. 2019-1-DE01-KA203-005046. Neither the European Union/European Commission nor the project’s national funding agency DAAD are responsible for the content or liable for any losses or damage resulting of the use of these resources.

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