The effects of high school students using biotechnology projects on their learning of complex systems and their attitudes toward biology

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of using biotechnology projects on high school students' ability to understand biological complex systems. The study also sought to determine ifthe use of biotechnology projects affected the students' attitudes toward biology as a subject, biology as future work, and choosing biotechnology as a career. Fifty-two high school students participated in the four-week, time-series design study. A pre- and post- attitudinal survey was used to collect data on student attitudes towards biology while student-generated concept maps were used to assess student levels of understanding after the use of biotechnology. Although the study showed no significant improvement in student understanding of complex systems, the findings did show trends that there were aspects to learning biology that were improved. Due to the improvements in student attitudes and student learning of biology demonstrated by this study, it is recommended that biotechnology be incorporated into the high school biology curriculum as well as the implementation of biotechnology-based courses for students interested in careers in biotechnology. Keywords: biotechnology, biology, high school, complex systems, student attitudes