Socio-Scientific Issues in STEM
Education: Physics

Should we expand our wind turbines?

Wind turbines are generally considered a clean energy source. Nevertheless, the construction of wind turbines, especially near residential areas, divides society.

A wind turbine or simply wind wheel converts the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy and feeds it into a power grid. Today, wind turbines are by far the most important form of wind energy utilization. 

In most areas, the potential of energy generation from wind turbines is not exploited. Should we therefore build more wind turbines, or not?







SSIs in this Example

Characteristics of SSIs

How to use SSIs in STEM Ed

Controversy in this example. Wind power plants are generally considered to be a clean energy source. However the installation of wind power plants also has impact on economical and biological factors.


• 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 SSI

• 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.
  5. Find list of (seemingly) scientific based arguments favoring respectively opposing the arguments in this case.
  6. Elaborate on the connection between the case and scientific facts. 
  7. What other aspects influence the perception of this case?

More content