It is important for the students to identify the problem that through the science mission should be solved. Therefore, the students, with help from the teacher, must look at the local community in order to find the aim of the mission.
Your role as a teacher
- The teacher must accept that he/she does not know all the areas n which students make their investigation.
- The teacher should avoid correcting the student with direct answers, but instead ask questions that will bring the students to think about/act towards a solution. The teacher guides the students.
- The teacher provides opportunities for learning on demand.
The part ‘Identify problem’ starts with a problem searching phase and ends with the exact problem that the mission should solve.
Therefore, start together with your students an analysis of issues that most concern your students in the local area. The students look at their local community for the purpose of identifying problems in which they can play the science detective role. Therefore, they have to leave the ‘safety zone’ of the classroom. To create the groups, the students with the same interests can be together.
Points for the students to think about:
- Which kind of local issues need a science-mission to be solved?
- Why is addressing this topic important to my community?
- Why is this topic important to me?
As a teacher, you could give your students some clues on interesting topics to investigate if the brainstorming of the group seems to be halted:
- The biodiversity in the local area
- Agriculture in the local area
- Pollution in the local area
- Energy supply in the local community
- What happens to the waste?
- Which chemical substances are we frequently in contact with in our surroundings?
These subject oriented questions are only indicative to ask to scaffold the brainstorming process. The goal is that the students eventually would identify a problem that could be addressed by the student initiated science mission.
Before next step
Students and teachers will have a common understanding of what the goal of the mission is.
You can read more in the guide