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Systems modelling and the development of coherent understanding of cell biology


Verhoeff, Roald Pieter; Boersma, Kerst Th.; Waarlo, Arend Jan


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Abstract This article reports on educational design research concerning a learning and teaching strategy for cell biology in upper-secondary education, introducing systems modelling as a key competence. The strategy consists of four modelling phases in which students subsequently develop models of free-living cells, a general 2-D model of cells, a 3-D model of plant cells and finally they are engaged in formal thinking by modelling life phenomena to a hierarchical systems model. The strategy was thought out, elaborated and tested in classrooms in several research cycles. Throughout the field-tests, research data were collected by means of classroom observations, interviews, audio-taped discussions, completed worksheets, written tests and questionnaires. Reflection on the research findings eventuated in reshaping and formalizing the learning and teaching strategy, which is presented here. The results show that although acquiring systems thinking competence at the metacognitive level needs more effort, our strategy contributed to improving learning outcomes, i.e. acquisition of a coherent conceptual understanding of cell biology and acquisition of initial systems thinking competence, with modelling being the key activity.
Klassifikation Unterricht, Didaktik
Freie Schlagwörter developmental research; secondary school; biology education; learning activities; qualitative research; systems modelling; cell biology; learning and teaching strategy
Sprache Dokument Englisch
Publikationsjahr 2008
Seitenangabe S. 543-568
Zeitschriftentitel International Journal of Science Education, 30 (2008) 4
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690701237780
Status Postprint; begutachtet (peer reviewed)
Lizenz PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)