Environmental Socio-Scientific Issues in Initial Teacher Education

ENSITE (2019-2022) is an Erasmus+ project supporting the development of future science and maths teachers’ environmental citizenship and related teaching competences.

We face severe global environmental challenges such as climate change, plastic waste and loss of biodiversity. To develop sustainable solutions of these challenges, people need skills to deal with these challenges – not only profound scientific know-how but also transversal skills such as critical thinking, creativity, responsible citizenship competences and forward-looking skills.

ENSITE supports this endeavour. Researchers from 11 European countries work closely together to develop an innovative approach which aims at improving higher education by including environmental socio-scientific issues in science initial teacher education.

Find out more!


Our world is facing tremendous global environmental challenges such as climate change, drinking water shortage and loss of biodiversity. To develop sustainable solutions of these challenges, our educational system has to fulfil the obligation to enable citizens to deal with complex problems. To do so, people need competencies – not only profound scientific know-how but also transversal skills (such as critical thinking, creativity, responsible citizenship competences and forward-looking skills). This is important as sustainable decisions cannot be taken only based merely on scientific facts, they are also influenced by ethical, cultural, ecologic and economic aspects. Dealing with environmental issues will also promote interdisciplinary co-operation in science, technology, engineering and maths.

This is the starting situation which ENSITE picks up. Research proposes the engagement of socio-scientific issues (SSI) as one promising path to developing environmental citizenship competencies. ENSITE aims at improving higher education by including environmental SSI in science initial teacher education (ITE). To this end the project consortium will develop an innovative approach to supporting teachers in developing competences in dealing with environmental SSI as well as in acquiring teaching skills to supporting their future students at school in becoming responsible citizens themselves.

In the longer term, ENSITE is expected to contribute to a widespread shared awareness of social and environmental responsibility.



Eleven university-teams from across Europe develop modules for initial teacher education (ITE). These intellectual outputs (IOs), to be found in the section on initital teacher education,  cover subject knowledge on socio-scientific issues (SSI) and how to deal with them, implication for learning/teaching processes, pedagogical concepts to design lessons, and the role of teachers’ background which affects teaching SSI. We perform several pilot activities validating our IOs at partner higher education institutes (HEI) and paving the way for long-term implementation.

Furthermore, three summer schools will be organised to engage students from all over Europe in a variety of innovative activity and stimulate inter-cultural and social experiences. We also organize national and international multiplier events to promote the project among relevant educational stakeholders, initializing dialogue on the matters at hand and substantiate our findings.


The project consortium consists of higher education teams from eleven institutions across Europe comprising experts in science education, environmental issues, pedagogical concepts to acquire transversal and forward-looking skills, students’ mobility, diversity in science courses/classrooms and larger scale dissemination.

The project coordinator is the International Centre for STEM Education (ICSE).

  • Germany: ICSE at University of Education Freiburg (Project Coordinator)
  • Austria: Universität Klagenfurt
  • Bulgaria: Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Science, Sofia
  • Cyprus: University of Nicosia
  • Czech Republic: Charles University, Prague
  • Greece: Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon, Athens
  • Malta: University of Malta, Valetta
  • Netherlands: Utrecht University
  • Norway: Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
  • Slovakia: Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra
  • Turkey: Hacettepe University, Ankara

Key Data

Program: Call 2019 Round 1 KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices; KA203 – Strategic Partnerships for higher education

Duration: 36 months (September 2019 – August 2022

Grant awarded: 446.984,00 EUR

Project number: 2019-1-DE01-KA203-005046

National Agency: DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst)

On this site we will publish 12 teaching modules on environmental socio-scientific issues (SSI) for higher education (HE) to be used in lectures and seminars for future mathematics and science students in initial teacher education.

The modules will address future teachers’ competencies in dealing with environmental issues themselves, thus learning about them first, and then second, their skills in teaching such issues.

Both learning and teaching these skills relate to

  • scientific competencies
  • transversal skills like critical thinking, innovative mind-sets and forward-looking skills and
  • taking into account the social ethical and cultural aspects related to SSI when making decisions.

First modules will be published in 2021.

Module 1: The nature of environmental SSI

Module O1 will be developed as a basis for the other modules in this project and it promotes a comprehensive understanding of environmental socio-scientific issues (SSI) guided by research and the educational discussion on SSI. It will provide meta-knowledge on characteristics of SSI and on how to deal with them. The aim of this module is to present a conceptual foundation for the other modules. In relation to the overall aim of motivating and enabling future teachers to include SSI into their teaching it will also initiate first reflections on future teachers’ beliefs on including SSI into teaching and give future teachers reasons for doing so.

As an introductory module ‘The nature of environmental SSI’ will focus on the following topics:


  1. First examples for environmental SSIs
  2. Reflection on specific characteristics of environmental SSI
  3. Definition of SSIs
  4. How to deal with SSI in general: Steps needed to deal with an SSI in the sense of active responsible citizenship.

When thinking about teaching SSI the first important thing is convincing future teachers of including SSI into teaching. Therefore, this module will also encourage reflecting on future teachers’ beliefs on teaching environmental SSI and will provide motivation and purpose of including them into teaching. Another important aspect is the explanation about the relevance of SSI in relation to the (HEI, national and European) curriculum and educational directives.


  1. Making students aware of their own opinion on the connection on environmental SSI and mathematics and science and their beliefs related to such issues.
  2. Why should environmental SSIs be included in mathematics and science teaching?
  3. Environmental SSI in classroom teaching: an example for use on secondary level.
  4. What do students learn when dealing with such a task?


Dealing with Socio-Scientific Issues


From Maass, Doorman, Jonker, Wijers (2019).

Module O1 raises the aspect of environmental SSI in initial education for future science and maths teachers and gives first insights in the potential of SSIs with regard to science and maths teaching and what roles (future) teachers and their beliefs play. This module for higher education (HE) will be used in lectures and seminars for science students in initial teacher education (ITE).

Lead Partner: Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg

Module 2: Reasoning, Argumentation & Critical Thinking

The aim of module 2 is to enhance future teachers’ competences in reasoning, argumentation and critical thinking. Therefore, this module provides resources and strategies to help prospective teachers to grasp underlying ideas and to create effective learning environments for reasoning, argumentation and critical thinking. To achieve this objective, we use media reports as a starting point.

The focus will be on future teachers’ learning, but module 2 will also give an outlook on how to use media reports in future teachers’ teaching. Intellectual Output 2 will propose some examples involving in strategies that can be adapted by future teachers as a model for designing their own activities.

In this module 2, we will innovatively promote prospective teachers’ understanding about socio-scientific issues (SSI) through STEM-related media reports. Our goal is to use media reports as an instructional tool to help prospective teachers, and, in return, their future students to become better informed and more discerning consumers of scientific information and to increase their motivation and willingness to learn STEM. We will put a particular emphasis on reasoning, critical thinking and argumentation skills, which includes evaluating the credibility of evidence, establishing the validity of explanatory conclusions, models or predictions, and evaluating sources of both conclusive and inconclusive science. Advanced reasoning and argumentation skills are necessary to grasp the underlying ideas behind media reports of STEM related to environmental SSI.

Module 2 will focus on the following topics:


  1. Media Literacy
  • Media Literacy and scientific literacy
  • Environmental SSI in the media
  1. Reasoning, Argumentation and Critical Thinking
  • Models on reasoning, argumentation and critical thinking
  • Similarities and differences of these models
  1. Using media reports as a starting point to discuss environmental SSI
  • Strategies for evaluating media reports of scientific research
  • Analysing media reports of scientific research
  • Using science-related news and different reasoning, argumentation and critical thinking models to discuss SSI in the media

photo: pixabay

HEI teaching staff and science and maths ITE students/users will gain awareness on how to use STEM media reports to extract relevant data and become better informed but also understand how to form an opinion on through media-provided data. We expect that a general awareness on the complexity of information provided through media will evolve and an awareness on how individuals can critically question provided information.

Lead Partner: Hacettepe University

Module 3: Collecting data

Lead Partner: Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Science


Module 4: Analysing big data

Lead Partner: Utrecht University


Module 5: Decision-making

Lead Partner: Charles University


Module 6: Negotiating social, political or ethical dimensions in SSI

Lead Partner: Universität Klagenfurt


Module 7: Aims of SSI and the Curriculum

Module O7 for Higher Education will be used in lectures and seminars for mathematics and science students in Initial Teacher Education (ITE). The module will focus on the aspects of environmental socio-scientific issues (EnvSSIs) that are related to the educational goals of schools and how future teachers can embed them in curricula. In European countries, curricula are mainly given through national authorities.

The literature review suggests that there is a need for integrating Environmental Socio-scientific issues in science and mathematics curricula.

Some of the arguments that support this view are:

  • students’ development of argumentation skills and sensitivity to such issues;
  • improve students’ conceptual understanding of the related notions (e.g., global warming) and processes (e.g., modelling) involved;
  • resolving students’ misconceptions on such issues;
  • enriching the mathematics and science curriculum material.

The rationale to include EnvSSIs in classroom results in preparing teachers in this direction. It seems that several challenges exist that teachers face in designing and implementing these tasks in classroom activities. Some of these challenges are teachers’ value-free beliefs; teachers’ ill-preparedness in teaching EnvSSIs; many contextual restrictions and difficulties teachers face as regards classroom management issues.

Thus, developing a professional development model in order to prepare European prospective mathematics and science teachers to handle these issues in classroom teaching is a necessity in these years. The module O7 aims to provide specific directions related to teaching and learning EnvSSIs.

Topics for learning Mathematics and Science

  1. Areas of mathematics and science education suitable to be related to EnvSSIs.
  2. STEM as a framework for identifying EnvSSIs. How can EnvSSIs and STEM education be implemented through curriculum materials and key practices?
  3. Levels of knowledge, social and cultural NOS, ethical development. This part of the module will be connected to module 1, which focuses on the nature of SSI, module 6 and negotiates the social, political or ethical dimensions underlying SSIs.
  4. Aims of teaching EnvSSIs including students’ conceptual development and higher-order thinking.
  5. Students’ understanding of the socio-political elements involved in EnvSSIs and competences in ethical reasoning and decision-making.
  6. SSI in mathematics curricula: examples of relevant thematic areas, practices and situations
  7. EnvSSIs in science and mathematics curricula: examples of relevant thematic areas, practices and situations in partners’ national curricula.
  8. Developing a model for EnvSSIs on learning and teaching in mathematics and science. This part of the module will be the basis and point of reference for the modules 9-12



Extending a typical mathematical textbook task

One of O7 aims is to support prospective teachers to extent typical textbook tasks.

Module O7 is innovative in that it analyses curricula in relation to environmental issues. It connects them to day-to-day teaching by supporting future teachers in understanding the curricula and adopting their requirements in their teaching.

The expected impact is that future teachers will be enabled to interpret the curriculum so that they see options for implementing environmental issues and can also justify their proceeding to anyone questioning this (e.g. parents favouring traditional approaches to science teaching).

Lead Partner: Ethniko Kai Kapodistriako Panepistimio Athinon

Module 8: Beliefs on teaching SSI

Lead partner: University of Nicosia


Module 9: Developing a SSI lesson I – focus on didactic aspects

This module gives future teachers help with designing a lesson. On one side it will be based on research related to socio-scientific issues (SSI) and on the other side on education for sustainable development (ESD). The module will also draw on the educational approach of inquiry-based learning. As an example, we will use the huge challenge of “plastic waste”, implications for human kind and nature, and proposals on how to deal with this in an educational context. The aim of this module 9 is to present an up-to-date status of the research on SSI issues related to plastic waste, and contribute to raise public awareness among the young generations. In this work schools and teachers have an important role to increase students’ knowledge and awareness about plastic as a waste problem, as well as the scale of the problem. While amount and types of plastics/micro plastics waste are quite well documented, there is still a lack of knowledge on physiological impacts. In the field of SSI and education related to plastic waste, the research is fragmented, and results related to public awareness and public induced actions are incoherent.


Module 9 will focus on the following topics:

Learning dimension:
Future teachers are supposed to

  • Understand the life cycle of plastic bottles, from production to waste, mainly in their own country, but also with an international perspective
  • Identify different dimensions of the plastic dilemma (historically, economically, socially, environmentally) and take part in discussions on this dilemma
  • Develop competencies (knowledge and skills) that enable them to take critical action (action competence)

Teaching dimension:

Future teachers are supposed to

  • Apply plastic dilemmas to teach about the role of science in society
  • Use inquiry-based learning approaches to teach plastic dilemmas in an SSI-perspective
  • Learn to set up socio-scientific issues (“wicked problems”) on plastics in their context
  • Teach students to work with socio-scientific issues (identify and argue for different aspects)
  • Plastic pollution as a “wicked problem” in their national and/or local curriculum – how is it treated?

Plastic bottles from all over the world, photo by Mausund Feltstasjon

This module will exemplify how to deal with a complex, cross-subject theme and through this include more classic science content, as well as environmental SSI related themes.

Lead partner: Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Module 10: Designing a SSI lesson – II

Lead partner: Constantine the Philosopher University


Module 11: Scaffolding

Lead Partner: Universität Klagenfurt


Module 12: SSI and assessment

Lead Partner: University of Malta


Module 13: Guidelines for Open Learning Environments

Socio-Scientific Issues and how to include them in STEM teaching

The nature of Socio-Scientific Issues

Socio-Scientific Issues (SSI) require students to engage in dialogue, discussion, and debate. They are mainly controversial in nature but also require forming opinions and making decisions including moral, ethical or social reasoning issues (Zeidler and Nicols 2009). Most of the time, people have to deal with these issues through incomplete information because of conflicting or incomplete scientific evidence and incomplete reporting. Often these issues involve a cost-benefit analysis in which risk interacts with ethical reasoning (Ratcliff and Grace 2003). Consequently, such contexts especially serve the purpose of educating for scientific citizenship (Owen et al. 2009).

An example of an SSI in the area of biology is the question whether vaccination against measles should be obligatory or not. Opponents of vaccination ignore scientific evidence on vaccination and epidemics, and tend to refer to their own evidence and experts. In order to follow the discussion on this issue as an active citizen, young people need to learn about such issues and how they are influenced by ethical, moral and cultural issues.

photo by Liz Masoner pixabay

We suggest that when dealing with SSIs to follow a cyclic process including steps like search for information and (risk) analysis of sources of information, discourse about (possibly) contradicting scientific results and ethical, social, cultural reasoning (Zeidler and Nicols 2009). Particularly the difference between scientific results and conclusions has to be made clear (Ratcliff and Grace 2003). A possible resulting process is shown in Figure 3.


Fig. 3. Working process for socio-scientific issues (Maass, Doorman, Jonker and Wijers 2019)


Research has shown that SSIs can be used as contexts for learning scientific content (Applebaum et al. 2006; Walker 2003; Zohar and Nemet 2002) and for understanding the nature of science (learning ‘about science’, see part 1) and for citizenship education (Herman et al. 2018; Radakovic 2015; Sadler et al. 2007). In this respect, the authors highlight the following important aspects when dealing with SSIs: (1) recognizing the inherent complexity of SSIs, (2) examining issues from multiple perspectives, (3) appreciating that SSIs are subject to ongoing inquiry, (4) exhibiting skepticism when presented with potentially biased information.

How to include Socio-Scientific Issues in STEM teaching

One approach that has proven to be helpful in science education is inquiry-based learning (Knippels and van Dam 2017). Consequently, combining inquiry-based teaching approaches with SSIs seems to have the potential to promote active citizenship in STEM-education.

By IBL, we refer to a student-centered learning paradigm in which students are involved in inquiry-related processes like observing phenomena and creating their own questions, selecting mathematical approaches, creating representations to clarify relationships, seeking explanations, interpreting and evaluating solutions, and communicating their solutions (Dorier and Maass 2014).

On the teacher’s part, pedagogies evolve from a ‘transmission’ orientation, in which teacher explanations, illustrative examples and exercises dominate and are not questioned, towards a more collaborative orientation. The teacher’s role includes making constructive use of students’ prior knowledge, challenging students through probing questions, managing small group and whole class discussions, encouraging alternative viewpoints, learning from mistakes and helping students to make connections between their ideas (Swan 2005, 2007).

Definitions of IBL, however, differ in the degree of autonomy given to students in the selection of problems and in the responsibility for inquiry processes (Artigue and Blomhøj 2013). In our approach to IBL, we refer to a socio-cultural approach in which learning needs to happen in interactive social classroom settings (Radford 2010) and the teacher takes an active role by creating learning situations inspired by inquiry-related processes. Teachers who take these active roles in guiding their students are more effective than those who take passive roles and let students discover on their own (Askew et al. 1997; Swan 2006).

For the purpose of promoting citizenship education, students need to have an active role, similar to that in IBL, for developing critical thinking and decision making, for learning to take into account ethical, social and cultural aspects, and for learning to deal with controversy (Zeidler and Nicols 2009; Geiger, Goos and Forgasz 2015). Already Dewey (1916) emphasized the connection between IBL and education serving democracy.


Guidelines for Open Learning Environments PDF



Applebaum, S., Barker, B., & Pinzino, D. (2006). Socioscientific issues as context for conceptual understanding of content. Paper presented at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Francisco, CA.

Artigue, M., & Blomhøj, M. (2013). Conceptualising inquiry-based education in mathematics. ZDM Mathematics Education, 45(6), 797–810.

Askew, M., Brown, M., Rhodes, V., Johnsons, D., & Wiliam, D. (1997). Effective teachers of numeracy. London, UK: Kings College.

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. New York, NY: Macmillan.

Dorier, J.-L., & Maass, K. (2014). Inquiry-based mathematics education. In Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education (pp. 300–304). Heidelberg, Germany: Springer.

Geiger, V., Goos, M., & Forgasz, H. (2015). A rich interpretation of numeracy for the 21st century: a survey of the state of the field. ZDM Mathematics Education, 47(4), 531–548.

Herman, B. Sadler, T., Zeidler, D. & Newton, M. (2018). A socioscientific issues approach to environmental education. In G. Reis, J. Scott, International perspectives on the theory and practice of environmental education: A reader (pp. 145–161). DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-67732-3_11

Knippels, M.C.P.J. & van Dam, F.W. (2017). PARRISE, Promoting attainment of responsible research and innovation in science education, FP7—Rethinking science, rethinking education. Impact, 2017(5), 52–54.

Maass, K., Doorman, M., Jonker, V. & Wijers, M. (2019). Promoting active citizenship in mathematics teaching. ZDM Mathematics Education, 51(6), 991-1003. DOI 10.1007/s11858-019-01048-6.

Owen, R., MacNaghten, P., & Stilgoe, J. (2009). Responsible research and innovation: From science in society to science for society, with society. Science and Public Policy, 39, 751–760

Radford, L. (2010). The anthropological turn in mathematics education and its implication on the meaning of mathematical activity and classroom practice. Acta Didactica Universitatis Comenianae Mathematics, 10, 103–120.

Radakovic, N. (2015) “People can go against the government”: Risk-based decision making and high school students’ concepts of society. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 15(3), 276–288, DOI: 10.1080/14926156.2015.1062938

Ratcliff, M., & Grace, M. (2003). Science education for citizenship. Teaching socio-scientific issues. Maidenhead, Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press.

Sadler, T. D., Barab, S. A., & Scott, B. (2007). What do students gain by engaging in socioscientific inquiry? Research in Science Education, 37(4), 371–391. DOI: 10.1007/s11165-006-9030-9

Swan, M. (2005). Improving learning in mathematics: Challenges and strategies. Sheffield, UK: Teaching and Learning Division, Department for Education and Skills Standards Unit.

Swan, M. (2006). Collaborative learning in mathematics: A challenge to our beliefs and practices. London, UK: National Institute for Advanced and Continuing Education (NIACE) for the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC).

Swan, M. (2007). The impact of task-based professional development on teachers’ practices and beliefs: A design research study. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 10(4–6), 217–237.

Walker, K. A. (2003). Students’ understanding of the nature of science and their reasoning on socioscientific issues: A web-based learning inquiry. Unpublished dissertation.  Tampa, FL: University of South Florida.

Zeidler, D.L., & Nichols, B.H. (2009). Socio-scientific issues: Theory and practice. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 21(2), 49–58.

Zohar, A., & Nemet, F. (2002). Fostering students’ knowledge and argumentation skills through dilemmas in human genetics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 35–62.

Each year, we reach out to future science teachers across Europe. These intensive study programmes (ISP) allow future science and maths teachers to deepen their knowledge about environmental socio-scientific issues in a multinational environment. In the course of the summer schools, the students engage in a variety of innovative activities and gain first-hand inter-cultural and social experiences.

Summer School 2021 in Bulgaria

Theme: Environmental issues in science education – Deepening future science and maths teachers’ learning by teaching

Organised by the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the Bulgarian Academy of Science (IMI-BAS)

Venue: Bulgaria, Sofia

Duration: 21 days in August 2021

Target groups:

  • Science and maths ITE students
  • PhD students in STEM fields
  • High school students interested in working on projects related to environmental socio-scientifc concepts

All target groups learn about environmental SSI. Future teachers gain knowledge on pedagogical concepts, widen their teaching scope and have the possibility to actively teach students, whilst PhD students gain experience in both aspects and can elaborate on how the respectively gained knowledge might contribute to their research work.

A social cultural program tailored to enrich the experience of the participants will be provided. Two one-day trips to sites of cultural and/or scientific importance will be included, as well as shorter visits to relevant exhibitions and museums.

The venue will be at the campus of IMI-BAS, one of its frequent conference locations or the campus of a partnering university. The locations are equipped with modern educational and accommodation facilities, quick access to emergency medical help and dedicated security.

The organisers will issue a certificate for each student and each future teacher, describing the scope of the activity and the attained learning outcome. It is intended that participants will get 3 ECTS points.

Summer School 2021 in Slovakia

Theme: Social-Scientific Issues in Mathematics and Science Teachers Education

Organised by the Constantine the Philosopher University (CPU)

Venue: Slovakia, region Nitra

Duration: 10 days in May-June 2021

Target groups:

  • Science and maths ITE students from partners’ and HEIs from the organizing country
  • PhD students in mathematics and science education;

Participants will be actively involved in discussions and will be informed about all other project initiatives and experiences. This will support them in taking up socio-scientific issue ideas to their future teaching and academic work. Participants will have the chance to demonstrate their knowledge and experience obtained during the summer school at the end of the ISP in a scientific colloquium.

A social cultural program tailored to enrich the experience of the participants will be provided. To this end we will include trips to sites of cultural and/or scientific importance as well as visits to relevant exhibitions and museums.

The organisers will issue a certificate for each participating future teacher, describing the scope of the activity and the attained learning outcome. The work and performance of participants, ITE students, will be acknowledged by 3ECTS credits.

Summer School 2022 in Czech Republic

Theme: Socio-scientific issues in maths and science ITE for HE teachers

Czech Republic, Prague: Univerzita Karlova (CUNI)

Duration: 10 days

Main target group:

  • Students of maths and sciences in ITE programmes at higher education institutions.

The program will offer students the opportunity to perceive and analyse different aspects of maths and science education in relation to environmental SSI and their interrelations with cultural, national, religious and other dimensions of society. During their stay prospective teachers will have numerous opportunities for communication both within the international student group and outside when meeting the local population. This will enable them to gain rich experiences concerning socio-scientific issues and their intercultural dimension.

The social cultural programme will include special excursions such as relevant visits to exhibitions (e.g. Czech National Museum, Technical Museum, Centre of Environmental Studies of the Charles University, Non-governmental institution with environmental focus etc.) or school excursions to give prospective teachers an insight into school life in another country.

CUNI will issue a certificate for each student/participant, describing the scope of the summer school programme and the learning outcomes attained. For the successful participation in this summer school, Faculty of Education CUNI will award 3 ECTS credits.


We organize national and international multiplier events for educational stakeholders to disseminate the modules for initial teacher education (ITE) that are developed within the project. The multiplier events aim at initializing dialogue on the matters at hand and substantiate the projects’ findings.

National Event, May 20-21, 2021 in Netherlands – New event date

Theme: Environmental socio-scientific issues in mathematics and science teacher education

Utrecht University, Netherlands

Should vaccination be compulsory? Is it possible to use only ‘renewable energy’? Can global warming be stopped?

The relevance of paying attention to this type of socially relevant scientific dilemma’s (socio-scientific issues) in teacher training for science and mathematics is increasing. After all, education has the task of preparing pupils for a future in which they are able to think along and decide on these kinds of issues.

SSI are little structured, open problems or dilemmas that have multiple solutions. Underlying data plays an important role in making decisions on such issues. Using mathematics, in particular statistics on large databases, therefor can play an important part in this.

In this multiplier event of the ENSITE project we will talk about how science and mathematics teacher educators can incorporate SSI. We focus on environmental SSI and use experiences and ideas from ENSITE and other European projects on this subject (Parrise, MasDiv).

We invite teacher educators of STEM-subjects and other interested parties to register.


Target group: Teacher educators of STEM

Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands


Thursday 20th May 2021, 13:45-17:00 International meeting (ME), hosted online: Environmental SSI in mathematics and science teacher education

Friday 21 May 2021, 10:00-16:00 national (dutch) conference for teacher educators of STEM, with an international track (in English) on Environmental Socio-Scientific Issues in Initial teacher education

If you want to participate please send an email to:

Internationale Event, November 2021 in Cyprus

Theme: International Forum on Teacher Professional Development and Socio-Scientific Issues

University of Nicosia, Cyprus

This stand-alone, international event brings together experts in the area of socio-scientific issues and teacher education to discuss recent trends, synergies and collaboration as well as exploitation capacity.

The specific objective of this multiplier event is to provide a venue for ITE teachers and curriculum developers in Higher Education, and other policy makers to discuss and share good practices and ideas on further improving teacher education related to socio-scientific issues. The multiplier event starts with an invited plenary, followed by workshops and lectures that provide concrete examples of how to include SSIs in ITE for science and mathematics teacher educators.


National Event, February 2022 in Malta

Theme: Seminar on using Socio-Scientific Issues in Science Education

University of Malta, Malta 

The specific objective of this Maltese multiplier event is to introduce project materials and ideas on teaching Socio-Scientific Issues (SSIs) and show how these ideas can be implemented in ITE. Participants will be actively involved in discussions and will be informed about all initiatives and experiences. The national event will involve discussions related to the support and needs of future science teachers when implementing lessons on environmental SSIs in their classroom in the Maltese context.


National Event, June 2022 in Norway

Theme: Workshop on deigning a lesson on environmental Socio-Scientific Issues

Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Univeriteit (NTNU), Norway

This Multiplier Event is a national workshop, taking place in Norway linked to the Norwegian education conference. Target groups of this event are teachers in STEM at secondary school, representatives from ITE and researchers from the field of teacher education.

The specific objective of this Norwegian multiplier event is to introduce the modules on Reasoning, argumentation & critical thinking as well as on Designing a SSI lesson as other project materials necessary to deliver a valuable and complete insight into our project and its results. Participants will learn ways how our findings affect teaching and how our materials can be used to design a lesson. They will also learn how they can use media reports as a starting point to raise particular topics in class. We will involve discussions about necessary adaptations to the Norwegian context and participants will gain awareness on how different national contexts influence the design and delivery of a lesson on environmental SSI.


International Event, August 2022 in Slovakia

Theme: Socio-Scientific Issues in mathematics and science teacher education

Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia

This international one-day conference will include plenary lectures as well as seminars and workshops. Target groups of this events are teachers in higher education, PhD students, policy makers, curricula designers and scientists in general pedagogy and theory of education, mathematics and science subjects.

The specific objective of this Maltese multiplier event is to introduce project materials and ideas on teaching Socio-Scientific Issues (SSIs), discuss their contents, relevance and implications. Participants will get to know the project`s outputs, gain knowledge on environmental issues and how they affect their role as teachers of future generations. The event will support them in including Socio-Scientific Issues into their future teaching, academic and scientific work.


Do you have any questions?