Life-Cycle Thinking in Inquiry-Based Sustainability Education – Effects on Students’ Attitudes towards Chemistry and Environmental Literacy
The aim of the present study is to improve the quality of students’ environmental literacy and sustainability education in chemistry teaching by combining the socio-scientific issue of life-cycle thinking with inquiry- based learning approaches. This case study presents results from an inquiry-based life-cycle thinking project: an interdisciplinary teaching model designed by chemistry teachers. The strength of the project is that upper-secondary students (N=105) are allowed to investigate the life cycle of an optional product based on their own interest. Studentcentred teaching methods are suggested to promote the students’ interest in studying. The research question was: How does an inquiry-based life-cycle thinking project in chemistry education affect students’ chemistry attitudes and environmental literacy? The research methods used included surveys and semi-structured interviews. The study shows that
the project positively affected students’ attitudes towards chemistry learning: they valued the independent and collaborative learning setting. The changes in the students’ environmental literacy were evident in their new realisations: they emphasised the importance of environmental protection and recycling, but perceived that changing their own behaviour is still difficult. The inquiry-based teaching of life-cycle thinking can be seen as an effective approach to more motivating and sustainable chemistry education. Further research should address the kinds of knowledge outcomes that this type of inquiry-based life-cycle teaching creates in students. Furthermore, other useful approaches to teaching sustainable development in chemistry lessons should be shared.
Anastas, P., & Lankey, R. (2000). Life cycle assessment and green chemistry: the yin and yang of industrial ecology. Green Chemistry, 2(6), 289–295.
Asunta, T. (2003). Knowledge of environmental issues: where pupils acquire information and how it affects their attitudes, opinions, and laboratory behaviour. Jyväskylä: University Print.
Blackburn, R. S., & Payne, J. D. (2004). Life cycle analysis of cotton towels: impact of domestic laundering and recommendations for extending periods between washing. Green Chemistry, 6(7), 59–61.
Bogner, F. X., & Wiseman, M. (1999). Toward measuring adolescent environmental perception. European Psychologist, 4(3), 139–151.
Calcott, A., & Bull, J. (2007). Carbon Plan, WWF UK: Ecological Footprint of British city residents. Retrieved January 25 2013, from http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/city_footprint2.pdf
Colburn, A. (2000). An inquiry primer. Science scope, 23(6), 42–44.
Dondi, F. (2011). Ethics in chemical education: Towards the culture of responsibility. Article presented at the conference “The Concept of Responsibility: Ethics, Chemistry and the
Environment”, Modena, Italy.
Dwyer, W., Leeming, F., Cobern, M., Porter, B., & Jackson, J. (1993). Critical review of behavioural interventions to preserve the environment: Research since 1980. Environment and Behaviour, 25(3), 275–321.
Edelson, D. (2002). Design research: What we learn when we engage in design. Journal of Learning Science, 11(1), 105–121.
Eilks, I. (2005) Experiences and reflections about teaching atomic structure in a jigsaw classroom in lower secondary chemistry lessons. Journal of Chemical Education, 82(2), 313–319.
Erdogan, M., Marcinkowski, T., & Ok, A. (2009). Content analysis of selected features of K-8 environmental education research studies in Turkey, 1997-2007. Environmental Education Research, 15(5), 525–548.
Erdogan, M., & Ok, A. (2011). An assessment of Turkish young pupils’ environmental literacy: A nationwide survey. International Journal of Science Education, 33(17), 2375–2406.
Gibson, H. L., & Chase, C. C. (2002). Longitudinal impact of an inquiry-based science program on middle school students’ attitudes toward science. Science Education, 86(5), 693–705.
Hofstein, A., Eilks, I., & Bybee, R. (2010). Societal issues and their importance for contemporary science education – a pedagogical justification and the-state-of-art in Israel, Germany, and the USA. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 9(6), 1459–1483.
Holbrook, J. (2005), Making chemistry teaching relevant. Chemical Education International, 6(1). Retrieved January 25 2013, from http://old.iupac.org/publications/cei/vol6/06_Holbrook.pdf
Holbrook, J., & Rannikmae, M. (2007). The nature of science education for enhancing scientific literacy. International Journal of Science Education, 29(11), 1347–1362.
Holbrook, J., & Rannikmae, M. (2009). The meaning of scientific literacy. International Journal of Science Education, 4(3), 275–288.
Hsu, S.-J., & Roth, R. E. (1998). An assessment of environmental literacy and analysis of predictors of responsible environmental behaviour held by secondary teachers in the Hualien area of Taiwan. Environmental Education Research, 4(3), 229–250.
the Inter Academy Panel (2010). Taking inquiry-based science education (IBSE) into secondary education. York: National Science Learning Centre, University of York. Retrieved January 25 2013, from http://www.allea.org/Content/ALLEA/WG%20Science%20Education/ProgrammeIBSE_YORK.pdf
Jerneck, A., Olsson, L., Ness, B., Anderberg, S., Baier, M., Clark, E., Hickler, T., Hornborg, A., Kronsell, A., Lövbrand, E., & Persson, J. (2011). Structuring sustainability science. Sustainability
Science, 6, 69–82.
Johnston, P., Everard, M., Santillo, D., & Robèrt, K.-H., (2007). Reclaiming the Definition of Sustainability. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 14(1), 60–66.
Juntunen, M., & Aksela, M. (2011). Life-cycle thinking and inquiry-based learning in chemistry education. In M. Aksela, J. Pernaa, & M. Happonen (Eds.), Inquiry methods to chemistry teaching: IV National chemistry education days – a symposium web book (pp. 110–121). Retrieved January 25 2013, from http://www.helsinki.fi/kemma/data/kop-2011.pdf
Juntunen, M., & Aksela, M. (in review). Life-cycle thinking and inquiry-based learning in chemistry teaching.
Joyce, B., & Weil, M. (1986). Models of teaching. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, Inc.
Juuti, K., Lavonen, J., Uitto, A., & Byman, R. (2009). Science teaching methods preferred by grade 9 students in Finland. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 8(4), 611–632.
Keys, C., & Bryan, L. (2001). Co-constructing inquiry-based science with teachers: Essential research for lasting reform. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(6), 631–645.
Kolsto, S. (2001). Scientific literacy for citizenship: Tools for dealing with the science dimension of controversial socioscientific issues. Science Education, 85(3), 291–310.
Krapp, A., & Prenzel, M. (2011). Research on interest in science: theories, methods, and findings. International Journal of Science Education, 33(1), 27–50.
Kärnä, P., Hakonen, R., & Kuusela, J. (2012). Science knowledge and skills at the 9th class in 2011. Observation report of education, 2, Ministry of Education. Tampere: University Press.
Mandler, D., Mamlok-Naaman, R., Blonder, R., Yayon, M., & Hofstein, A. (2012). High-school chemistry teaching through environmentally oriented curricula. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 13(2), 80–92.
Marcinkowski, T. (1991) The relationship between environmental literacy and responsible environmental behavior in environmental education. In M. Maldagle (Ed.), Methods and Techniques for Evaluating Environmental Education. Paris: UNESCO.
Marks, R., Bertram, S., & Eilks, I. (2008). Learning chemistry and beyond with lesson plan on potato crisps, which follows a socio-critical and problem-oriented approach to chemistry lessons – a case study. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 9(3), 267–276.
Marks, R., & Eilks, I. (2009). Promoting Scientific Literacy Using a Sociocritical and Problem- Oriented Approach to Chemistry Teaching: Concept, Examples, Experiences. International Journal of Environmental & Science Education, 4(3), 231–245.
Minner, D. D., Levy, A. J., & Century, J. (2010). Inquiry-based science instruction – What is it and does it matter? Results from a research synthesis year 1984 to 2002. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(4), 474–496.
Osborne, J. (2003). Attitudes towards science: a review of the literature and its implications. International Journal of Science Education, 25(9), 1049–1079.
Oulton, C., Dillon, J., & Grace, M. M. (2004). Reconceptualizing the teaching of controversial issues. International Journal of Science Education, 26(4), 411–423.
Rocard, M., Csermely, P., Jorde, D., Lenzen, D., Walberg-Henriksson, H., & Hemmo, V. (2007). Science Education Now: A renewed pedagogy for the future of Europe. Brussels: European Commission Directorate-General for Research Science, Economy and Society. Retrieved January 25 2013, from http://ec.europa.eu/research/science- society/document_library/pdf_06/report-rocard-on-scienceeducation_en.pdf
Roth, C. E. (1992). Environmental Literacy: Its Roots, Evolution, and Directions in the 1990s. Columbus: ERIC/CSMEE Publications.
Sadler, T. D. (2011). Socio-scientific issues-based education: What we know about science education in the context of SSI. In T. D. Sadler (Ed.), Socio-scientific issues in classroom: teaching, learning and research (pp. 355–369). New York: Springer.
Saloranta, S., & Uitto, A. (2010). Oppilaan koulukokemusten yhteys ympäristöasenteisiin ja ympäristövastuulliseen käyttäytymiseen. In H. Risku-Norja, E. Jeronen, S. Kurppa, M. Mikkola, &
A. Uitto (Eds.), [Food – The requirement and the asset in teaching] (pp. 33–47). Helsinki: Ruraliainstitute.
Simmons, D. A. (1989). More infusion confusion: A look at environmental education curriculum materials. Journal of Environmental Education, 20(4), 15–18.
Tikka, P. M., Kuitunen, M. T., & Tynys, S. M. (2000). Effects of educational background on students’ attitudes, activity levels, and knowledge concerning the environment. The Journal of Environmental Education, 31(3), 12–19.
Tuomi, J., & Sarajärvi, A. (2006). Laadullinen tutkimus ja sisällönanalyysi [Qualitative research and content analysis]. Jyväskylä: Gummerus Printing House Oy.
Tundo, P., Anastas, P., Black, D., Breen, J., Collins, T., Memoli, S., Miyamoto, J., Polyakoff, M., & Tumas, W. (2000). Synthetic pathways and processes in green chemistry. Introductory overview. Pure Applied Chemistry, 72(7), 1207–1228.
Tung, C., Huang, C., & Kawata, C. (2002). The effects of different environmental education programs on the environmental behaviour of seventh-grade students and related factors. Journal of Environmental Health, 64(7), 24–29.
Uitto, A., Juuti, K., Lavonen, J., Byman, R., & Meisalo, V. (2011). Secondary school students’ interests, attitudes and values concerning school science related to environmental issues in Finland. Environmental Education Research, 17(2), 167–186.
UNESCO (2009). United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD 2005-2014). Review of Contexts and Structures for Education for sustainable Development Learning for a sustainable world. Paris: UNESCO.
Van Aalsvoort, J. (2004). Activity theory as a tool to address the problem of chemistry’s lack of relevance in secondary school chemical education. International Journal of Science Education, 26(13), 1635–1651.
Vassiliou, A. (2011). Education in Europe: National Policies, Science Practices and research. European Commission Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. Retrieved January 25 2013, from http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/documents/thematic_reports/133EN.pdf
Wilmes, S., & Howarth, J. (2009). Using issues-based science in the classroom. The Science Teacher, 76(7), 24–29.
Yager, S. O., Lim, G., & Yager, R. E. (2006). The advantages of an STS approach over a typical textbook dominated approach in middle school science. School science and Mathematics, 106(5),
Yavez, B., Goldman, D., & Peer, S. (2009). Environmental literacy of pre-service teachers in Israel: a comparison between at the onset and end of their studies. Environmental Education Research, 15(4), 393–415.
Zeidler, D., Sadler, T., Simmons, M., & Howes, E. (2005). Beyond STS: A research-based frame work for socio-scientific issues education. Science Education, 89(3), 357–376.
In order to ensure both the widest dissemination and protection of material published in CEPS Journal, we ask Authors to transfer to the Publisher (Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana) the rights of copyright in the Articles they contribute. This enables the Publisher to ensure protection against infringement.