Socio-Scientific Issues in STEM
Education: Biology

Should Measels Vaccination be Mandatory?

Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that mainly affects children. Symptoms include red skin spots, fever and a considerably weakened general condition which can be life-threatening in some cases due to severe courses (complications) with pneumonia and brain inflammation. 

Should Measles vaccinations be mandatory?







SSIs in this Example

Characteristics of SSIs

How to use SSIs in STEM Ed

Controversy in this example. From a purely mathematical standpoint, one would assume that there should be no question as to whether one should be vaccinated or not. However, encroachments on personal rights, such as bodily inviolability, are not easy to implement depending on the culture and the legal situation, nor should they be.


• SSI have a basis in science and require people to engage in dialogue, discussion, and debate.

• They are mainly controversial in nature. 

• They require forming opinions and making decisions including scientific, moral, ethical or social reasoning issues.

Dealing with SSIs

• Dealing with these issues requires evaluating incomplete information because of conflicting or incomplete scientific evidence and incomplete reporting

• Often these issues involve a cost-benefit analysis in which risk interacts with ethical reasoning.

The goal is to understand how different opinions evolve and strengthen.

1. Read the text carefully!

2. How do you position in this context!

3. Put yourself in the role of an expert. How would you argue…

  1. … if you oppose the case
  2. … if you do not oppose the case

4. Do your own (internet) research.

  1. Find list of (seemingly) scientific based arguments favoring respectively opposing the arguments in this case
  2. Elaborate on the connection between the case and scientific facts. 

5. What other aspects influence the perception of this case?

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