Using Investigation and Discussion to Inquire about Issues in Primary Social Studies, pp. 10 of 15

Lesson 4 is the final lesson and students will discuss the issue question. The teacher will surface the issue question, recap the learning in the first three lessons and state the discussion rules for SAC. They will further divide each group into smaller teams, A and B. Team A will take the stand to support the hiring of foreign workers and Team B will take the stand to oppose it. Students will prepare their arguments using their activity books containing the information gathered in the previous two lessons. Next the teams will present their most compelling points before they swap their stands and present from the opposing team’s perspective with time given for preparation for their new stand before the presentation. During the presentation by one team, the members of the other team are to take down the points in their activity books. The final step is for all the teams to drop their stands and come together to deliberate on the issue based on all the points presented and agree on a common group stand with supporting reasons. The teacher will elicit some group responses before instructing them to do a 3-2-1 reflection on their learning. The main learning points will be summarized and the lesson is ended by announcing that students will be writing to the government on the matter as their social action. 

Inquiry 2 on Usage of Plastics Using Marsh’s Inquiry Model and Hess’ Town Meeting Model

The next issue-centred, inquiry-based instructional package on plastics usage was developed by Eliza Tan Hui En, Lian Zimin, Joycelyn Poh, Jurveen Kaur and Aneesa Rehana. The issue for their package was: Should plastics be banned at the supermarket? The issue is chosen because worldwide, there is excessive usage of plastic bags and the improper disposal can lead to environmental pollution. In Singapore, the excessive use of plastic bags is a concern because the current landfill at Pulau Semakau will run out of space by 2030; improper disposal can cause the clogging of the drainage systems and impact marine animals negatively; and the irresponsible littering of plastic bags by people can tarnish the good reputation of Singapore as a clean and green city in a garden and hurt its economy, especially in tourism. It is an appropriate issue for inquiry as it serves as an extension of Primary 3 syllabus on environmental protection. It can be taught in the Primary 6 chapter on “The way we live in Southeast Asia”. The unit goals for the instructional package are to promote student understanding of the implications of excessive plastic bag usage and improper disposal on the environment and measures for environmental protection, develop their skills in research, presentation and teamwork, and inculcate a sense of personal responsibility in plastic bag usage and waste management. The two concepts for learning are environment and human responsibility, and the generalisation is “People have the responsibility in protecting the environment.” The guiding questions for the five one-hour lessons are as follow: 

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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