Using Investigation and Discussion to Inquire about Issues in Primary Social Studies, pp. 12 of 15

The issue investigation is based on the Marsh model and the issue is discussed using Hess’ town meeting model.   

In the Lesson 1 introduction, the teacher will first show students a figure for them to guess what it represents before showing them a website that illustrates the rate of plastic bags used worldwide. The teacher will state that plastic bags are commonly used in the Singapore supermarkets and then show students pictures of excessive use of plastic bags and get them to think of the ensuing problems. For the lesson development, students will be divided into 8 small groups with Groups 1 to 4 grouped under Group A, and Groups 5 to 8 grouped under Group B. Each small group will be given different articles to read. These articles will help students understand the annual amount of plastic bags used in Singapore, why plastic bags are commonly used, organisations that target the reduction in plastic bag usage by the public, the disposal in the landfill and the reasons for Singapore’s growing concern for the increase in plastic bag usage and disposal. Once the groups have read the articles, they will use the 2-stray, 3 stay strategy by asking two members of each small group to stray to the next group in a clockwise direction in either Group A or B to gather information whereas the other three members will remain behind to explain the article to the visitors. The teacher plays the role of the facilitator and monitors student teamwork performance. The lesson ends by instructing students to create a role on the wall that will illustrate the human qualities associated with environmental care and to explain the importance of the traits. Students also have to do a reflection on their learning.

For lesson 2 on consequences, the class watches a video on the journey of plastic bags prior to a class discussion on the video. Using Think-Pair-Square, students will work in groups and discuss key information. They will outline their work on Padlet for presentation. They will be asked to identify the similarities and differences in the final destinations of the plastic bags. A video on the effects of plastic bags will be played, after which students in groups will create a concept map on the negative impacts of plastic bags using butcher paper. They will display their maps on the wall and the class will do a Gallery Walk. The teacher will ask the class to think about the impacts on Singapore and write their thoughts on the Padlet. The lesson is concluded by making linkages to Singapore’s image as a city in the garden and economy which will be affected if plastic bags are improperly disposed. The main learning points are summarised and the class writes a reflection on the consequences of plastic bag pollution.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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