Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

College of Arts and Sciences



Major Advisor

Dr. Kristin Cook

Second Advisor

Dr. Diane Courington


Learning science is not just about facts. It is an area that has the potential to expand beyond the classroom. There is a concern for students having negative associations with science, and not seeing the relevance it plays within their lives. The curriculum should reflect science's value within society and its influence on complex issues. Learning science in the context of socioscientific issues (SSI) can promote an understanding that connects science to society and everyday life. The main objective of this thesis is the see how the use of SSI in the middle school classroom can promote student engagement and how students apply their scientific learning within the social context. It was hypothesized that a classroom that uses SSI within its curriculum will have students that gain a deeper understanding of science with the appropriate knowledge and skills needed to deal with complex issues. Through the research of the literature surrounding SSI and support of AMGEN Biotech Experience (ABE) to present an SSI lesson to a middle school science class, results showed student engagement with this SSI curriculum was evidenced. Following an analysis of the data collection and a connection to the literature, this thesis will address the desired outcomes of improving the perception and how the use of socioscientific issues can be a resource to helping middle school students become more engaged as well as improve their perception of learning science.