Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Dana Zeidler, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Allan Feldman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James R. King, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Ken Killebrew, Ph.D.


critical thinking, informal education, scientific literacy, socioscientific issues


There is a divide between what students are being taught within the science classroom and what they experience out in the real world. This study sought to explore possible relationships between a socioscientific issues embedded curriculum and outcome variables addressing environmental attitude and knowledge, oral and written argumentation and critical thinking skills. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to examine both within and between class differences as well as individual differences between the beginning and end of a semester of elementary school. Results indicated that socioscientific issues assist students in developing their critical thinking skills while also providing students the opportunity to be exposed to and participate in local and global environmental issues influencing the community at large. Statistical significance was found between groups in regards to attitude toward the environment, the qualitative interviews did indicate that some students provided more advanced argumentation skills by articulating alternate viewpoints on controversial environmental topics. Theoretical implications regarding the use of socioscientific issues in the classroom are presented.