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Investigating River Quarrying

Originally appears in the Summer 2013 issue

Framing scientific inquiry within the context of a contemporary problem that touches the lives of students, their families, and their communities can be a way to engage students of all ages in science learning with a new spin. Socio-scientific issues (SSI) place a human face on scientific investigation:  Who are the people involved? How are they affected by this problem? What are the possible solutions?

The Ulian River is one of the major waterways of Panay Island in the central Philippines. In a socio-scientific investigation conducted during the 2012 school year, Filipino students in grades five and six, together with their teachers, gathered narratives from different people connected to the river, and then conducted four hands-on scientific inquiry activities to explore water quality issues in more depth. Each of the activities below concludes with reflection questions that guide students through the complexities of the issue, while highlighting the different perspectives of the people involved…

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Vincente C. Handa received his Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Georgia and serves as a faculty member at West Visayas State University in the Philippines. Aris C. Larroder teaches high school physical and earth science at Philippine Science High School. Lourdes N. Morano is the former director of the Regional Science Teaching Center at West Visayas State University in Iloilo City, in the Philippines. Deborah J. Tippins is a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at the University of Georgia, and former Fulbright Scholar in the Philippines. Susan G. Harper is a doctoral student in Science Education at the University of Georgia.