Is the sustainability of human societies based on biotechnology? Let’s debate!

On  10 April in Evangeliki Model High Scool of Smyrna (Athens), 27 students aged 16-17 years old supported by the Mathematician teacher Mrs Panagiota Argyri participated in STEM DISCOVERY WEEK inspired activity of ODYSSEY project.

It was a “pilot debate”, aimed at opening students’ minds to STEM topics, such as biotechnology, through communication and argumentation, and focused on encouraging students to STEM careers.

At preparation, phase students took a role of scientist: through inquiry based science learning, their job  was to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of biotechnology in the fields of medical, agricultural and environment. Moreover, they have prepared a timeline for basic discoveries in the field of biotechnology and lists of careers in biotechnology.

Later,  they divided in two groups presenting scientific facts for argumentation supporting and overthrowing the statement. Various aspects were taken into account: human health protection, environmental impacts, food production etc

Even though it was a pilote debate, it wasn’t simply an exchange of viewpoints: their schoolmates evaluated the performance of two teams based on use of scientific facts/statistics, , understanding and explaining the topic, presentation of information, accuracy of arguments and rebuttal, and also – respectful attitude. Students also shared their experience to other classes with many positive comments.

Results? It was an amazing experience for all STEM class: They got both roles as scientists, reporters and as communicator of science, developed critical thinking, as well as collection and assessment of scientific data.

We can’t wait for full Odyssey debates in Greece, Poland, Estonia and Serbia!



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