INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE EDUCATION

Volume 17, Issue 3, 2021

Research Article
Examining Some of the Challenges Students Face in Learning about Solubility and the Dissolution Process
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(3), e2237, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/9333
ABSTRACT: Developing conceptual understanding of solubility and dissolution and the relationship to molecular structure, ionic salts’ charges, and enthalpy and entropy, play a significant role in the learning of chemistry. Dissolution and solubility are topics covered in general chemistry, quantitative analysis, biology, and organic chemistry. Alternative conceptions about some of the key chemistry principles can lead to students’ failure in understanding and accepting some of the future concepts. This study aims to examine some of the challenges and alternate conceptions that students face when learning about solubility and its relationship to Lewis structures and the driving force behind dissolution. A survey that consisted of ionic and molecular solubility related problems, short answers, and Likert-Type questions was given to 200 students in order to analyze their understanding of solubility, dissolution, alternate conceptions they possess, challenges they face in learning about the topics, and its relationship to Lewis dot structures and ionic charges. Our data indicates that students struggle with solving solubility and dissolution process related problems and rely on memorization to approach these problems. For ionic compounds, there seems to be a dependency on memorization and rote-learning of solubility rules instead of development of conceptual understanding of charges of ions and their relationship to entropy and enthalpy in the dissolution process. For molecular compounds, it should be noted that students lack mastery of determining molecular shape and its relationship to function but do emphasize the roles of Lewis structure and polarity in solubility. Finally, students do not attribute the combined effects of enthalpy and entropy as the driving forces behind dissolution and show very fragmented and naïve understanding of the concept.
Research Article
Situation of Environmental Education in Senior High School Programs in Indonesia: Perspectives from the Teachers of Palembang
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(3), e2241, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/9605
ABSTRACT: Environmental literacy helps to address key challenges in providing sustainable development for the developing third world countries. This can be qualified based on the active practice of promoting environmental awareness inside the classroom and innovative curriculum change among many educational systems. To provide a glimpse of the current situation of environmental education at the senior high school level, this pioneering qualitative research study based on grounded theory was conducted for Indonesia by interviewing 21 experienced teachers from Palembang. Two main themes were identified from the coded responses of the teachers on the semi-structured questions framed for this study. These themes were (i) teachers’ insights on the current teaching pedagogies in Indonesia and how these strategies are used to integrate environmentally important issues and (ii) the prospective of improving the environmental education in Indonesian high schools. Teachers interviewed in this study agree that (1) a more outcome-based strategy should be applied in teaching environmental knowledge in the classroom, (2) educational policies that raise awareness about environmental problems in Indonesia, especially the increasing bad air quality in the country, is seen as both a priority and an opportunity and (3) students attitudes, society’s apathy and ignorance, and government’s implementations are the challenges in developing environmental education subject for most Indonesian schools.
Research Article
Bringing Environmental Education to the Curriculum: Practical Elements Emergent from Teaching Experiences and Research  
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(3), e2236, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/9606
ABSTRACT: Bringing theories or policies about environmental education into the classroom is a common problem that  teachers must confront. The purpose of this paper is to provide teachers with practical elements emergent from teaching experiences and research. A Complex Environmental Formation framework is proposed to curricularize a self-eco-organized understanding of the environment and being. Methodologically, three cases are studied using in two methods – a content analysis to identify emergent teaching elements, and a conducted analysis using the framework. The analysis and results indicate some potentially transferable teaching elements –a) selecting local environmental situations to contextualize curriculum, b) integrating knowledge for reading/transforming reality, c) guiding teaching and learning through questions, d) competence-based teaching and learning, e) project-based teaching and learning, f) assessing cooperatively and with formative purpose, g) addressing environmental education from different educational approaches, and h) breaking institutional barriers. There is an approximation to self-eco-organize the subject, communities, institutions, knowledge, learning, teaching, and assessment.
Research Article
Learn from Each Other: A Peer-Teaching Model
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(3), e2242, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10896
ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to examine the degree of competence of the teaching-learning goals as formulated by the elementary-school staff members and the expression of these goals in science classes, in which peer teaching takes place, from the students' point of view. As part of this peer teaching, fellow teachers who were assigned from among the students were in charge of teaching the rest of the class that had been divided into groups of four to five. The research adapted mix-methods, which helped to answer the following questions: a). What are the teaching-learning goals of the school staff at Tzemach School that engages in the peer teaching approach combined with traditional teaching? b). How are teaching-learning goals formulated by the peer-teaching school staff in science classes described from the students' point of view? The research tools used included interviews with teachers, interviews with group leaders, focus groups, observations, and drawing analyses. The findings indicate that there is a gap between teachers' perceptions of peer teaching and students' perceptions of peer teaching. Teachers placed greater emphasis on the cognitive aspects, while the students paid more attention to the social-emotional and behavioral aspects. Despite these gaps, students are interested in continuing to study through peer teaching, provided the presence of the accompanying teacher is more significant. Based on the existing model for peer teaching at Tzemach School and according to the findings of the study, a desirable model for integrating peer teaching was developed, which can aid in implementation of the approach for any age and in any another scholastic subject.
Research Article
Reconnecting Children with Nature: Foundation and Growth of the Nature Schools Movement in Iran
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(3), e2244, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10934
ABSTRACT: The Nature Schools movement in Iran commenced in 2014 and expanded steadily for half a decade, growing to almost 100 schools. Emulating similar educational inititives in Europe and North America, Nature Schools offered outdoor educational experiences for pre-school and primary school years, spreading across both metropolitan and regional Iran. Before the first Nature Schools were started, detailed initial planning between academics and the government Environment Department and Education Ministry was undertaken which projected the roll-out of many more Nature Schools. The results of this study demonstrated that the establishment and growth pattern of the Iranian Nature Schools had different causes stimulating its commencement, how these schools released a new pedagogical practice for teachers, children and their families and how this movement offered an alternative curriculum in nature with school children outdoors. Thus, despite the eclipse of the Nature School movement, a longer time-frame indicates positive aspects, including the establishment of green or eco-schools and the institutionalization of the environmental focus in pre-school education. Many educators saw Nature Schools benefitting students’ personal learning and academic development. Political concerns after several years of growth led to some closures and slowing down of the growth of Nature Schools in 2018-19. At the same time, a new national environmental curriculum was being embedded across all age-levels of schooling in Iran.
Research Article
The Study of Stream Litter Accumulation as a Model for Cross-Disciplinary, Transformative, Affordable, and Scalable Undergraduate Research Experiences in STEM
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(3), e2245, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10935
ABSTRACT: Undergraduate learning in STEM is enhanced by participation in tractable and relevant research projects. Simultaneously, it is challenging to design meaningful research opportunities that remain affordable, engage students in most aspects of the scientific process, and offer opportunities for transformative learning experiences. We designed a collaborative 12-week undergraduate research project based on the quantification of litter along two urban streams in the Oklahoma City (United States) metropolitan area, addressing a regional issue with global implications. This study engaged six undergraduate students at a low cost with commonly available equipment. Three faculty involved brought expertise in physical stream characterization, ecology, statistics, and mathematical modeling, allowing students to approach data analysis from multidisciplinary and collaborative perspectives. Students participated in nearly all stages of scientific research, including a brief literature survey, data collection and analysis toward addressing research questions, interpretation of results, and presentation at a scientific meeting. Post-project surveys revealed that students held highly favorable perceptions in relation to overarching project goals, including improvements in data management and quantitative analysis, in comprehension of scientific abstracts, in grasping the scientific process, and in skill development toward future career goals. Student perceptions regarding the importance of participation in generating data, interest in future data analysis, and the importance of receiving financial compensation for participation were less favorable and varied. Despite increased interest in conducting future field work, interest in pursuing a career in research was slightly diminished after participation in the project. Evidence of transformative learning existed in the targeted areas of scholarly activity and health and wellness. We discuss the benefits of our study design, including suggestions for improvement and the adaptability of this study for other educational contexts.
Research Article
International Scaling of Sustainability Continuing Professional Development for In-Service Teachers
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(3), e2243, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/10936
ABSTRACT: Continuing professional development (CPD) offers a strong opportunity to transform schools quickly enough to support today’s students in developing the capacity to address urgently needed sustainability solutions. While there have been some efforts in these directions, so far attempts have not been made to demonstrate whether these approaches to sustainability CPD can be scaled up internationally to the level necessary to meet the need to integrate sustainability across subjects and grade levels. Through this multi-national collaboration, we shared a model and implemented it across three very different contexts. The results of this two year project are reported and the important contextual factors for the competence development of teachers are identified. The model utilized here demonstrated success despite significant barriers at each implementation site. We identify three universal features that will create transformative sustainability CPDs: 1) Sufficient contact hours 2) Solutions not problems and 3) Competencies not content.