Integrating scientific practices with biological content

Leading team

Project members


The Life Sciences group is currently developing learning materials to realize all of the biological aspects of the new syllabus for science and technology in junior high schools in Israel. Our leading theme in the current development effort is the integration of scientific practices with biological contents. We are particularly focusing on the development of systems thinking among junior-high-school students. So far we have developed units on life systems, transport systems, ecological systems, and reproductive systems. We are attempting to develop students’ understanding of systems using a knowledge organizer that is aimed at helping learners organize their knowledge about each system in terms of its structural components, the processes that occur within the system and the mechanism involved.

Developing systems thinking in the biological sciences involves an understanding at multiple organizational levels. The Life Sciences group attempts to develop this understanding using the structure-behavior-function (SBF) theory, which was previously suggested as a suitable framework for analyzing biological systems because an important biological principle is the relationship between form, function, and mechanism. Members of the group has developed a framework for knowledge organization according to the SBF theory (Raved et al., 2013) and we are currently testing its feasibility in promoting systems thinking among learners in the context of learning about transport systems in the 7th grade.

Links for further reading