Socio-scientific Issues for Scientific Literacy – The Evolution of an Environmental Education Program with a Focus on Birds

  • Andrew T. KinslowEmail author
  • Troy D. Sadler
Part of the Environmental Discourses in Science Education book series (EDSE, volume 2)


Students can relate with birds in a variety of contexts, from casual observations of birds in the schoolyard to keeping birds as pets or engaging in bird identification. In this chapter, we describe the evolution of an environmental education program for high school students that has used ornithology as an organizing theme. A central component of the program is student participation in a bird banding research program. Initially, the program adopted a relatively simple citizen science model: students collected data on birds, following protocols provided by ornithology researchers, and then submitted their findings to a national database. An early modification to the program was the addition of water quality monitoring at the site of the avian field research. The latest innovations involve incorporating citizen science activities related to birds and water within a broader socio-scientific issues (SSI) approach. This chapter will describe and document ways in which this shift from stand-alone citizen science projects to a coherently framed SSI-based learning experience enhanced the extent to which the program met its ultimate goals for student learning including development of scientific literacy in a derived and progressive sense.


Socio-scientific issues (SSI) Scientific literacy Citizen science Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR) Environmental education 

Supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The ReSTEM Institute College of EducationUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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