Development of Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge during Lesson Planning of Socioscientific Issues

Zachary Minken, Augusto Macalalag, Andre Clarke, Lisa Marco-Bujosa, Carol Rulli
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This case study addresses the pedagogical challenges teachers face in incorporating elements of socioscientific issues (SSI) when planning science and mathematics lessons. In order to effectively plan and teach SSI lessons, teachers must develop pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) specific to unpacking elements of SSI such as identifying an issue that is debatable and relevant to students’ lives, employing reflective scientific skepticism, and evaluating multiple perspectives. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1) In what ways, if any, did teachers’ knowledge and instructional design of SSI change throughout the intensive series of workshops? 2) What areas of SSI required additional support? To answer our research questions, we analyzed changes in lesson plans from 29 teachers, mostly science and secondary, over the course of three intensive workshops as part of the Integrating STEM in Everyday Life Conference Series. Over the five month period, teachers worked in groups and with mentors to design and implement SSI lessons. Our findings show that teachers demonstrated positive changes in all SSI elements over the course of the workshops. However, deeper analysis reveals that teachers struggled to balance the social and scientific aspects of SSI. Moreover, our analysis suggests that teachers did not focus on the discursive nature of SSI in their lesson plans. Implications of our study include ways in which professional development programs can cultivate teachers’ PCK of SSI in order to better support them in planning and implementing SSI lessons.


Socioscientific issues, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Inservice Teachers, STEM Education, Professional Development, Lesson Planning

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Minken, Z., Macalalag, A., Clarke, A., Marco-Bujosa, L., & Rulli, C. (2021). Development of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge during lesson planning of socioscientific issues. International Journal of Technology in Education (IJTE), 4(2), 113-165.



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International Journal of Technology in Education (IJTE) - ISSN:2689-2758

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International Society for Technology, Education and Science (ISTES)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.