The ‘What is a system’ reflection interview as a knowledge integration activity for high school students’ understanding of complex systems in human biology

Jaklin Tripto, Orit Ben-Zvi Assaraf, Zohar Snapir, Miriam Amit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the reflection interview as a tool for assessing and facilitating the use of ‘systems language’ amongst 11th grade students who have recently completed their first year of high school biology. Eighty-three students composed two concept maps in the 10th grade—one at the beginning of the school year and one at its end. The first part of the interview is dedicated to guiding the students through comparing their two concept maps and by means of both explicit and non-explicit teaching. Our study showed that the explicit guidance in comparing the two concept maps was more effective than the non-explicit, eliciting a variety of different, more specific, types of interactions and patterns (e.g. ‘hierarchy’, ‘dynamism’, ‘homeostasis’) in the students’ descriptions of the human body system. The reflection interview as a knowledge integration activity was found to be an effective tool for assessing the subjects’ conceptual models of ‘system complexity’, and for identifying those aspects of a system that are most commonly misunderstood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-595
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • Concept maps
  • biology education
  • reflective interview
  • system thinking

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