Integrating scientific practices with biological content

Leading team

Prof. Anat Yarden

Postdocs and students

Tom Bielik, PhD student

Lena Raved, PhD student

Moriah Ariely, PhD student

Dr. Ronit Rozenszajn, Postdoctoral Fellow

R&D team

Dr. Gilat Brill

Dr. Yehuda Ben-Hur

Dr. Ilana Hopfeld

Einat Filler

Dina Bartov

Rony Atidia

Summary

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.

Related materials (in English and in Hebrew)

  • Bartov, D., and Yarden, A. (2013). Exploring life, In B. Eylon, A. Yarden & Z. Scherz (Eds.), Exploring Life Systems (Vol. 1), (A student text, a digital book and a teacher guide, The Amos de-Shalit Israeli Center for Science Teaching, grade 7).
  • Raved, L., Bielik, T., Haskel-Ittah, M., and Yarden, A. (2013). Exploring transport systems, In B. Eylon, A. Yarden & Z. Scherz (Eds.), Exploring Life Systems (Vol. 1), (A student text, a digital book and a teacher guide, The Amos de-Shalit Israeli Center for Science Teaching, grade 7).
  • Ben-Hur, Y. (2013). Living organisms in their environment, In B. Eylon, A. Yarden & Z. Scherz (Eds.), Exploring Life Systems (Vol. 2), (A student text, a digital book and a teacher guide, The Amos de-Shalit Israeli Center for Science Teaching, grade 8).
  • Ariely, M., and Yarden, A. (2013). Exploring reproductive systems, In B. Eylon, A. Yarden & Z. Scherz (Eds.), Exploring Life Systems (Vol. 2), (A student text, a digital book and a teacher guide, The Amos de-Shalit Israeli Center for Science Teaching, grade 8).