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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Online Unscheduled




EDST632 Science in an Integrated STEM Classroom

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit introduces socioscientific issues (SSIs) and their use for engaging school students in STEM. SSIs are controversial social issues such as global pandemics and climate change that require the understanding of science, mathematics and technology concepts to solve. SSIs have served as effective contexts for the development of scientific literacy as well as non-science ideas and practices such as empathy and citizenship responsibility (Owens & Sadler, 2020). As such, SSIs are an important aspect of a contemporary STEM education and have the potential to engage students in solving real-world problems. Furthermore, they are an important way to support STEM literacy (Falloon, Hatzigianni, Bower, Forbes & Sevenson, 2020) across STEM subjects. In this unit, teachers will understand the implementation of socio-scientific issues for the development of STEM literacy and how to use socio-scientific issues to engage students in STEM. 

In this unit, students will establish a research-informed understanding of SSIs and how to use them in STEM classrooms to develop STEM literacy. Educators and teachers will apply this knowledge to develop a sequence of lessons over a chosen grade for engaging students in SSIs.  

The aim of this unit is for students to understand and apply current research about the use of socioscientific issues for developing STEM literacy. Students will develop a series of learning activities to use in the school context. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Communicate a critical understanding of socioscientific issues (SSIs) for developing STEM literacy including the use of research-informed pedagogical approaches (APST HA 1.2, 2.1, 2.3, 3.1)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO2Evaluate a variety of teaching strategies designed to cater for individual differences in student learning (e.g., cognitive, physical, social, cultural differences; EAL/D; gifted learners; students with special needs) when teaching SSIs (APST HA 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, 2.2, 3.3, 5.1; Lead 1.3)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Apply knowledge about the General Capabilities and Cross Curriculum Priorities (from Australian Curriculum) to design learning sequences that require the use of SSIs for developing STEM literacy (APST HA 2.1, 2.4, 2.6, 3.2, 3.3; Lead 1.4)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.1 Physical, Social and intellectual development and characteristics of student

Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students. 

1.2 Understand how students learn

Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge. 

1.5 Differentiate teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities

Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.1 Content and teaching strategies of the teaching area

Support colleagues using current and comprehensive knowledge of content and teaching strategies to develop and implement engaging learning and teaching programs. 

2.2 Content selection and organisation

Exhibit innovative practice in the selection and organisation of content and delivery of learning and teaching programs. 

2.3 Curriculum, assessment and reporting

Support colleagues to plan and implement learning and teaching programs using contemporary knowledge and understanding of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements. 

2.4 Understand and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians

Support colleagues with providing opportunities for students to develop understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages. 

2.6 Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Model high-level teaching knowledge and skills and work with colleagues to use current ICT to improve their teaching practice and make content relevant and meaningful. 

3.1 Establish challenging learning goals

Develop a culture of high expectations for all students by modelling and setting challenging learning goals 

3.2 Plan, structure and sequence learning programs

Work with colleagues to plan, evaluate and modify learning and teaching programs to create productive learning environments that engage all students. 

3.3 Use teaching strategies

Support colleagues to select and apply effective teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking 

5.1 Assess student learning

Develop and apply a comprehensive range of assessment strategies to diagnose learning needs, comply with curriculum requirements and support colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of their approaches to assessment. 


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

1.3 Students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds

Evaluate and revise school learning and teaching programs, using expert and community knowledge and experience, to meet the needs of students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

1.4 Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island students

Develop teaching programs that support equitable and ongoing participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students by engaging in collaborative relationships with community representatives and parents/carers. 


Topics will include:

  • MODULE 1 — Socioscientific issues (SSIs) & Citizenship Education (CE) 
  • Socioscientific issues (SSIs) in the classroom context  
  • How can we utilise citizenship education (CE)? 

  • What is STEM literacy? 
  • Exploring frameworks for STEM literacy 
  • Using scientific concepts in fictional writing 

  • MODULE 3 — STEM literacy activities using SSIs 
  • K-12 examples of SSIs including the use of ICTs 
  • Critical evaluation of SSI learning activities 

  • MODULE 4 — Learning Sequences using SSIs  
  • Review of learning progressions / trajectories / sequences in the STEM context 
  • Designing a learning sequence using STEM literacy in an SSI context 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in multi-mode and will be supported by a unit Learning Management System (LMS) site. Engagement for learning is the key driver in the delivery of this curriculum, therefore an active learning approach is utilised to support graduates in their exploration and demonstration of achievement of the unit’s identified learning outcomes. 

A variety of techniques will be used, dependent upon the mode of enrolment. Regardless of face to face or online enrolment, a range of synchronous and asynchronous learning strategies will be used. These will include lectures, tutorials, workshops, student presentations, co-operative group work, experiential learning and authentic problem solving.

This is a 10 credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total.

Mode of delivery: This unit will be offered in one or more of modes of delivery described below, chosen with the aim of providing flexible delivery of academic content.

  • On Campus: Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Intensive: In an intensive mode, students require face-to-face attendance on weekends or any block of time determined by the school. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you students to prepare and revise. 
  • Multi-mode: Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Online unscheduled: Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 
  • Online scheduled: All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks are designed to provide students with the opportunity to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes and professional standards and criteria consistent with University assessment requirements.

A variety of assessment procedures will be used to ascertain the extent to which graduates achieve stated outcomes. In order to pass this unit, students are required to submit or participate in all assessment tasks, and gain 50% or more for each task.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1 

Present, using a suitable format such as PowerPoint, a socioscientific issue requiring a solution in the STEM field, which will contribute to the development of STEM literacy, based on modules 1 & 2. 

The presentation must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: 

  • the concepts and structure of SSIs and citizenship education in relation to STEM literacy
  • the ways in which students learn through the use of SSIs
  • provisions are made for the inclusion of General Capabilities and Cross Curriculum Priorities.
  • <


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2 

Using the SSI from Assessment 1 or another SSI, develop a sequence of lessons that enables the growth of STEM literacy for a chosen grade. 

The sequence of lessons must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:  

  • Critical understanding of SSIs that have the potential to develop students’ STEM literacy
  • Learning objectives, teaching content, strategies and assessment appropriate to the identified outcome/s, including the topic and year level; strategies to meet the identified strengths and needs of diverse learners
  • Provisions are made for the inclusion of General Capabilities and Cross Curriculum Priorities in a learning sequence.
  • <


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

ACARA. (n.d.). National Numeracy Learning Progression. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. 

Barnes-Johnson, J., & Johnson, J. M. (Eds.). (2018). STEM21: Equity in teaching and learning to meet global challenges of standards, engagement and transformation. Social justice across contexts in education. Peter Lang Incorporated, International Academic Publishers. 

Duschl, R. A. (2019). Learning progressions: framing and designing coherent sequences for STEM education. Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research, 1(1).  

Falloon, G., Hatzigianni, M., Bower, M., Forbes A., & Sevenson, M. (2020). Understanding K-12 STEM Education: A framework for developing STEM literacy. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 29, 369-385.

Gay, G. (2018). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice (3rd ed.). Teachers College Press. 

Levinson, R., & Amos, R. (2019). Socio-scientific inquiry-based learning: An approach for engaging with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals through school science. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning.  

Rauch, F., & Radmann, D. (2020). How Socio-Scientific Inquiry Based Learning (SSIBL) promotes inquiry in climate issues – An example for enacting socio-scientific issues in science education. Action Research and Innovation in Science Education, 3(2), 43–45.  

Owens, D. & Sadler, T. (2020). Socio-scientific issues as contexts for the development of STEM literacy. In C. Johnson, M. Mohr-Schroeder, T. Moore & L. English (Eds.), Handbook of Research on STEM education (pp.210-222). Routledge. 

Stevenson, A. D., & Huffling, L. D. (2021). A Culturally Responsive Literacy Approach to Develop Scientific Conceptual Knowledge through Creative Narratives. Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 11(1). 

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