Tali, T., Kali, Y., Magid, S., & Madhok, J. (2011). Enhancing the authenticity of a web-based module for teaching simple inheritance. In T. D. Sadler (Ed.), Socio-scientific issues in science classroom: Teaching, learning and research (pp.11-38). Springer.
In this chapter, we view socio-scientific issues (SSI) as contributing to dialogic argumentation (Ash & Wells, 2006; Driver, Newton, & Osborne, 2000; Tal & Kedmi, 2006) and as enhancing the ability to assess scientific information and data (Jiménez-Aleixandre, Rodríguez, & Duschl, 2000; Zohar & Nemet, 2002), which both contribute to scientific literacy of students in middle and lower high school grades (Roth & Calabrese Barton, 2004). Teaching science through socioscientific issues is in line with ideas brought up by the Science-Technology-Society (STS) movement (Aikenhead, 1994; Hodson, 1994, 1998) that continued to develop into ideas about humanistic science teaching and teaching citizen science (Aikenhead, 2005; Calabrese Barton, 2003; Roth & Calabrese Barton, 2004; Tal & Kedmi, 2006). The essence of all these ideas is that the science content should be situated in real, important, and often controversial issues that gain the public’s interest. Ratcliffe and Grace (2003) identified the following characteristics in socioscientific issues: they have a basis in science as they are frequently at the frontiers of scientific knowledge; they involve forming opinions, making choices at personal and societal levels; they are frequently reported by media; they deal with incomplete information; they address local, national, and global dimensions; they involve some cost-benefit analysis in which risk interacts with values; they may involve considerations of sustainable development; they involve values and ethical reasoning; they may require some understanding of probability and risk; they are frequently topical with transient life (pp. 2–3).