Course Identification

Biology module: Introduction to biology instruction

Lecturers and Teaching Assistants

Dr. Rachel Cohen

Course Schedule and Location

First Semester
Tuesday, 14:30 - 17:00, science teaching lab 2

Field of Study, Course Type and Credit Points

Science Teaching (non thesis MSc Track): Lecture; Obligatory; Regular; 2.00 points


שנה א
פורמט היברידי




For students in the Rothschild-Weizmann program only

Language of Instruction


Attendance and participation


Grade Type

Numerical (out of 100)

Grade Breakdown (in %)


Evaluation Type

Final assignment

Scheduled date 1


Estimated Weekly Independent Workload (in hours)



The course will bridge between aspects of research in science education and the biology teachers' classroom practice. The courses will focus on

  1. Teacher Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK),
  2. Constructing and using big ideas to improve teaching and learning,
  3. Scientific inquiry and practices:  Definitions and the inquiry cycle,
  4. Students'' misconceptions and perceptions of students' alternative concepts,
  5. Exploring models in the biology classroom
  6. Assessment in biological teaching.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  • Bridge between aspects of research in science education and the biology teachers' classroom practice
  • The students' group will function as a supportive community of colleagues, by means of collaborative thinking and several stages of feedback at the meetings.


Reading List

PCK (one article from the list)

Barendsen, E., & Henze, I. (2019). Relating teacher PCK and teacher practice using classroom observation. Research in Science Education49, 1141-1175.

Mientus, L., Hume, A., Wulff, P., Meiners, A., & Borowski, A. (2022). Modeling STEM teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge in the framework of the refined consensus model: A systematic literature review. Education Sciences12(6), 385.

Big Ideas (one article from the list)

Bravo Gonzalez, P., & Reiss, M. J. (2023). Science teachers’ views of creating and teaching Big Ideas of science education: experiences from Chile. Research in Science & Technological Education41(2), 523-543.

Cary, T. L., Wienhold, C. J., & Branchaw, J. (2019). A biology core concept instrument (BCCI) to teach and assess student conceptual understanding. CBE—Life Sciences Education18(3), ar46.‏‏

Deehan, J., & MacDonald, A. (2023). “What's the Big Idea?”: A qualitative analysis of the big ideas of primary science teachers. International Journal of Educational Research119, 102189.

Mitchell, I., Keast, S., Panizzon, D., & Mitchell, J. (2017). Using ‘big ideas’ to enhance teaching and student learning. Teachers and Teaching, 23(5), 596-610

Scientific inquiry and practices (one article from the list)

Barrow, L. H. (2006). A brief history of inquiry: From Dewey to standards. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 17(3), 265-278.

Ford, M. J. (2015). Educational Implications of Choosing “Practice” to Describe Science in the Next Generation Science Standards. Science Education6(99), 1041-1048.

Osborne, J. (2014). Teaching scientific practices: Meeting the challenge of change. Journal of Science Teacher Education25(2), 177-196.

Students misconceptions and perceptions of students' alternative concepts (one article from the list)  


Kumanda?, B., Ateskan, A., & Lane, J. (2019). Misconceptions in biology: a meta-synthesis study of research, 2000–2014. Journal of Biological Education53(4), 350-364.


Machová, M., & Ehler, E. (2021). Secondary school students’ misconceptions in genetics: origins and solutions. Journal of Biological Education, 1-14.

Yates, T. B., & Marek, E. A. (2014). Teachers teaching misconceptions: A study of factors contributing to high school biology students’ acquisition of biological evolution-related misconceptions. Evolution: Education and Outreach7(1), 1-18


Bryce, C. M., Baliga, V. B., De Nesnera, K. L., Fiack, D., Goetz, K., Tarjan, L. M., ... & Ash, D. (2016). Exploring models in the biology classroom. The American Biology Teacher, 78(1), 35-42.