Promoting Student-led Inquiry-based Actions on STSE Issues
Structures unit
Ontario curriculum document:
Short (20min) free online video about planned obsolescence/using cheap material so that we have to buy more stuff! -
A story about a bike recycling program for teenagers:

Model Inquiry-based STSE Actions

Introduce students to various STSE issues and corresponding actions, some of which they may have experienced prior to the course;
STSE Issues
STSE Actions
- students use a desk and a chair at school - do these things fit everyone the same? Is it comfortable for everyone?
- write letters to the school board and manufacturing companies
- voice their discomforts to higher authorities
- design structures out of newspapers
- what materials last the longest? Is it better to make chairs of wood or plastic?
- writing letters to newspapers
- low cost of structures may mean underpayment of workers especially in developing countries
- gender biased bicycle issue- should boys' bicycles differ from girls' bicycles?


  • Show students a more detailed example of actions people have taken to address a certain STSE issue, pointing out primary and secondary research necessary for developing the actions;
A video that shows how to make a chair out of reusing cardboard box material:

Guide a Small-scale Inquiry-based Activism Project

  • If necessary, provide students with a ‘skills apprenticeship’ (e.g., for questioning, experiment and correlational study design, graphing, reporting, debating, activism, etc.);

  • Guide students through a small-scale inquiry-based STSE action project;
( study that collects data to tell the students what kind of actions to take)
eg. cause /effect ( how many people go to Tim Horton's with a travel mug? ) age, gender, formal/casual, profession,
cause variable: the ratio of # of people in the family: # of TVs, 3 of TVs to average age
effect/result variable: How many TV sets does your family have?

small study ending in some action
study the results and educate peers in the school to think about the environmental effects of components of TVs and how

Facilitate Student-led Inquiry-based Activism Projects

  • Facilitate students’ self-directed inquiry-based STSE action projects, addressing issues of students’ choices and occurring over a large proportion of a unit of study — perhaps ending in a detailed defense of their actions.