Challenges such as global pandemics, climate change, and fresh water shortages are viewed by today's students around the world as urgent issues that can and will affect their lives. The solutions to these and other global problems require solutions that blend scientific, technical and economic, political, and educational perspectives. These complex issues are referred to as the Grand Challenges.
Studies have shown that students around the world want to learn about these issues in school, yet very few have the opportunity to do so. Student interest and school science do not intersect in a way that fosters students' sense of science as being relevant, and they typically leave school underprepared to employ science and scientific ideas in their careers or in public debate.
The Fritz Thyssen Stiftung Foundation has funded a convening of a group of international experts, including CREATE Director Joseph Krajcik, to examine radically restructuring science education around the Grand Challenges and students' desire to be well-informed on these issues. The outcomes will lead to a better understanding of how such a shift might happen, a thorough examination of challenges, and a solid research agenda to guide evidence-based design and evaluation of such a shift. A white paper will be made freely and widely available to the public as a final result of this work.