Systems thinking in biology amongst lower secondary students
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In a scientific society, quality science education in secondary education is of great importance to prepare students for a possible future in science. In the Netherlands, one approach to increase learning achievements in science is the introduction of the crosscutting concept of systems thinking in lower secondary science education. In order to effectively implement systems thinking in lower secondary science didactics, it is important to investigate students’ inherent awareness of systems thinking. The aim of this study is to investigate the extent to which lower secondary students describe systems thinking characteristics in solving complex biological problems. In a seven week lesson series, student metacognitive awareness was promoted through the use of a student journal and group discussions. Student formulated strategies were retrieved and analysed for metacognitive components. Four distinct categories of student strategies were found. The categories were analysed for systems thinking characteristics. The findings indicate that a majority of students formulate certain systems thinking characteristics in their approach to complex biological problems. This may have implications for systems thinking in lower secondary curricula, allowing for a more specialised didactical approach.