Using Investigation and Discussion to Inquire about Issues in Primary Social Studies, pp. 13 of 15

In Lesson 3 on measures, students are given a scenario on Titiwangsa, Malaysia and tasked to help it solve its excessive usage of plastic bags. Before they provide their solutions, individual students need to work in their respective expert groups to gain knowledge of how a particular country tries to solve its plastics problem before sharing it with the members in their home groups. Information on China, US, Ireland and Singapore is provided. A class discussion on what they have learnt will follow before they apply their knowledge to the case study. The teacher will also ask the class to reflect on Singapore’s measures and whether it should ban the use of plastic bags in preparation for Lesson 4 when a town meeting on the issue will be conducted.

In Lesson 4, students will review their learning from previous lessons before getting in groups to prepare for their assigned roles for the town meeting. The class will be seated in a circle and the discussion on the issue about banning the use of plastic bags at the supermarkets at the meeting will be facilitated by the teacher. Students should speak in their roles and provide compelling reasons to support their roles. The teacher will then debrief the meeting by asking students whether they have gained a deeper understanding of the issue after hearing different perspectives and whether their original views have changed. The lesson will conclude with a student reflection on the lesson.

In Lesson 5, the main learning points from Lesson 4 will be reviewed and students will have to place their points under the appropriate column of “pros” or “cons” when they provide the learning points. Students get back into groups with a mix of perspectives in each group. Each group is now a management committee of a supermarket and they have to provide an alternative solution on mahjong paper if plastic bags are banned. Students will put up their work on the wall and do a gallery walk and put their comments on each other’s work. The lesson is concluded by highlighting the main generalisation and by referring to the Role on the Wall of a concerned citizen completed in Lesson 1. Students will do their final reflection on their overall inquiry experience.

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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