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ERIC Number: EJ1004177
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-2168-8281
Process-Based Thinking in Ecosystem Education
Jordan, Rebecca C.; Gray, Steven A.; Brooks, Wesley R.; Honwad, Sameer; Hmelo-Silver, Cindy E.
Natural Sciences Education, v42 n1 p68-74 2013
Understanding complex systems such as ecosystems is difficult for young K-12 students, and students' representations of ecosystems are often limited to nebulously defined relationships between macro-level structural components inherent to the ecosystem in focus (rainforest, desert, pond, etc.) instead of generalizing processes across ecosystems (photosynthesis, decomposition, etc.). This context-dependency might be related to the focus of ecosystem instruction. Most commonly, the components are the first to be introduced and are given the greatest attention in the teaching of ecological and other biological systems. Here, we test the hypothesis that process-centered understanding of ecosystems, as opposed to structured-centered understanding, can facilitate students' ability to transfer ecosystem concepts to new and novel ecosystems. We found that teachers who taught ecosystem processes more generally were associated with greater variation in student models, indicating a greater range of ideas being represented among the students. (Contains 1 table and 2 figures.)
American Society of Agronomy. 5585 Guilford Road, Madison, WI 53711. Tel: 608-273-8080; Fax: 608-273-2021; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 7
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A