Science Theatre at School: Providing a context to learn about socio-scientific issues

N.F. Wieringa, J.A.A. Swart, T. Maples, L. Witmondt, H. Tobi, H.J. v.d. Windt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Science theatre is recognised as a method for teaching socio-scientific issues (SSI), but is largely under-researched. The essence of science theatre at school is to shape a contextualisation for science and technology and its relationships to individuals and society at large, with the aim to trigger the imagination, raise questions and stimulate debate among the audience to increase their understanding of the SSI at stake. To further the theoretical basis of science theatre at school, we investigated students’ experiences in coherence with the views from experts about the play’s possibilities and limitations, in the context of a performance about food science and technology. The play dramatised dilemmas that were related to science as a knowledge-producing process, and through its consumer products. Our study indicated that the societal context for staging science and technology, through consumers’ dilemmas to eat healthy, raised interest among the students to a larger extent than the subject of science and technology per se. According to both students and experts, the level of scientific complexity and the use of caricature to portray scientists may have hampered the possibilities to reach the audience. An alternative to contextualisation on an individualised level is to make scientific controversy and its relationship to various social interests, the heart of the matter. The discussion after the play was considered crucial and appreciated, although the students were critical about the nature of the theses. Exploring the moral positions involved in dilemmas could provide an alternative perspective of understanding to the audience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-96
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education. Part B: Communication and Public Engagement
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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