C. Vasconcelos1, A. Cardoso2, M.L. Vasconcelos3

1Faculty of Sciences of Porto University; IES-Porto (PORTUGAL)
2Faculty of Sciences of Porto University (PORTUGAL)
3University Fernando Pessoa (PORTUGAL)
In this day and age, advances of scientific knowledge occur at such a pace that they are humanly impossible to follow. Thus, the classical memorization of contents has been made meaningless. What is truly relevant is to understand how new knowledge is formed and how it can be mobilized so as to solve real-life problems Socio-scientific issues (SSIs) have gained more importance in science education since inquiry based-teaching demands for scientific literacy. The main goal of the present study was to determine whether or not a specific SSIs could heighten the nexus between students, science and real-life problems. The study built upon an SSI related to the use of sand and clay for skin care and implemented an intervention program that followed a problem-based methodology. The scientific issue at hand was the use of the sand and clay from the island of Porto Santo – Madeira (Portugal), in skincare. These are mainly used for the relief of dermatological affections, such as psoriasis, seborrhea and acne. A case study based on a qualitative method was carried out. Data was collected by resorting to observation techniques and a group interview survey. The convenience sample consisted of 30 students from the 9th grade enrolled in a public, urban school. The research resorted to an observation grid to evaluate the students' collaborative work and established content analyses of the group interview. Results showed a very positive impact, since students were able to transform information into knowledge. Students showed knowledge of skin and acne contents and succeeded in establishing a relationship between geological resources and skin care. In addition to scientific knowledge, students developed competences relevant to their daily life, such as collaboration, communication, and argumentation skills, critical awareness, autonomy and creativity. As such, when referring to social dilemmas with links to science, authors propose that SSIs should be aligned with the science curricula, thus helping students to solve daily problems.