Unifying Biology Education With Systems and Systems Thinking
– Dr. Jenni Momsen, North Dakota State University
Presented on Thursday, December 8, 2022
At its core, biology is the study of living systems. How then can we train students to reason about relationships within and between systems, and predict consequences to biological system functions? Previous guiding frameworks for undergraduate biology education such as Vision & Change (V&C; Brewer and Smith, 2011) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013) recognize the relevance of systems and identify systems as a foundational concept for life science learning, but they do not specify strategies for how to prepare students for competence in systems-thinking skills. In this talk, I introduce the Biology Systems-Thinking Framework that emerged from both our experiences in the undergraduate biology classroom and a cross-disciplinary literature review of research on systems thinking. Building on the core competencies originally proposed in V&C and NGSS, this new framework can serve as a useful guide for organizing and assessing systems thinking in undergraduate biology curriculums.