New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Solving Social Problems through Science: Creative Thinking Workshops

Alison Reynolds, University of Florida (United States)


Innovative approaches to teaching science and inventive problem solving come in many forms, many of them solely based within the subject matter.  While the students learn content and perform experiments, the applicability of their knowledge is often limited to within the walls of the classroom. Instead of projects that hone specifically on science, a multidisciplinary approach to teaching science and its application can come through teaching students to solve social problems with science and collaboration. Science can solve problems, and students work together in creative thinking workshops to solve those problems. In fact, the necessity of group work for creative thinking is clear because, as DeHaan (2009) suggests, “When an individual experiences an aha moment that feels like a singular creative act, it may rather have resulted from a multicomponent process, under the influence of group interactions and social context.” This presentation will provide a description of how such group work can be incorporated into classrooms and demonstrate how, in immersive and interactive workshops, students work in teams to find a social problem and then take on the task of solving it through science.  Examples of such problem solving are tasking students to employ their understanding of biology to solve a problem with food availability or physics to build something sustainable. Through creative thinking workshops, students in schools will be challenged to apply science to solve social problems in their communities, in their towns, and maybe in the world.

KeywordsCreative, Science, Social, Problems, Workshops;


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[6] Wakefield, J. “Creative thinking: problem solving skills and the arts orientation”, Norwood, NJ, Ablex Publishers, 1992. 

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