Breaking the COVID-19 Ice: Integrating Socioscientific Issues into Problem-Based Learning Lessons in Middle School
Abstract: COVID-19 represents a socioscientific issue with many different facets and societal impacts for middle school in the 2020-2021 academic year. Socioscientific issues are socially significant, real-world issues that are culturally important and grounded in science. Using a socioscientific issues approach to engage middle school students in ill-structured problems in science and health issues affords teachers a motivational and scientific literacy teachable moment. Teachers face challenges when employing an SSI approach due to lack of time, lesson availability, and professional development. This brief paper and pre-recorded presentation describe problem-based learning modules related to COVID-19, such as vaccines, ventilators, and distribution of supplies that will be ready for middle school teachers at the beginning of the next school year. Lesson plans and related instructional tools will be available online at no charge. Research of the modules will use a qualitative approach to gather data from participating teachers.