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Learning about the Different Dimensions of Sustainability by Applying the Product Test Method in Science Classes

Learning about the Different Dimensions of Sustainability by Applying the Product Test Method in Science Classes
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Author(s): Mareike Burmeister (Institute of Science Education, University of Bremen, Germany), Janine von Döhlen (Institute of Science Education, University of Bremen, Germany) and Ingo Eilks (Institute of Science Education, University of Bremen, Germany)
Copyright: 2014
Pages: 16
Source title: Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Innovations for Sustainable Development
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Ken D. Thomas (Auburn University, USA) and Helen E. Muga (University of Mount Union, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5856-1.ch008

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Abstract

This chapter reflects upon the development of a new pedagogy for secondary level science education: the product test method. This method mimics the authentic societal evaluation practice performed by professional product-testing agencies. The design of this particular pedagogy is tied directly to the three most prominent dimensions occurring in contemporary sustainability models: ecological, economic and societal sustainability. Application of this method focuses on learning about the evaluation of competing industrial products with regard to sustainability criteria. This chapter reflects upon the underlying theoretical framework of the consumer test method. It also illustrates its application in the classroom based on a lesson plan for the evaluation of different sorts of plastics. Experiences and feedback from teachers and students are discussed, based on the cyclical development process by Participatory Action Research. They reveal that the lesson plan has great potential for contributing to higher levels of student motivation and learner perception regarding issues of sustainable development.

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