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Working to develop Systems Citizens in K-12 Education

Using Simulations in the Classroom

The CLE has many simulations available for use. But, how can they be used effectively? The paper Effective Use of Simulations in the Classroom addresses that exact question.

Just over twenty years ago, I was using simulations in my middle school classroom and was inspired to write this article as a way to foster future simulation use. Today, as evidenced by this quote from a current teacher at that same school, they are still providing benefits to students.

Jane Chilcott, Retired Middle School Teacher


Simulations provide opportunities for students to experience real life situations in manageable and meaningful ways in the classroom. In addition, some of the most valuable lessons that are learned from simulations are things that may have never been anticipated by the person who developed the simulation.

Brian Bindschadler, Middle School Teacher

System Dynamics Apps


The CLE is pleased to announce the development of some new system dynamics apps. These simple, fun and engaging apps are ready for use on phones, tablets, or Chromebooks. They are quick to use and create excellent insight for all ages.

These apps are based on the Demo Dozen models created by Jeff Potash and John Heinbokel and developed in a collaboration among the Creative Learning Exchange, the Center for Interdisciplinary Excellence in System Dynamics, and BTN.

Want to see when it is better to invest in retirement? Is it safe to leave that sandwich out of the refrigerator? Can you create a stable population?
Learn more and download the new CLE apps.

DynamiQueST 2017: World Climate Simulation

DQ Balloon

DynamiQueST is a showcase of the power of simulations and creative student projects that utilize critical thinking skills to analyze complex dynamic systems.

JOIN US to play the World Climate Simulation created at MIT and used internationally to facilitate current world climate negotiations. No Experience Needed! Just a desire to delve deeper into real-world challenges.

DynamiQueST Goals:

  • Experience the World Climate Simulation, based on systems thinking, and used around the world to understand the issues surrounding climate change.
  • Apply practical critical thinking tools to a real-world problem.
  • See student projects that embody critical thinking using systems thinking and system dynamics (ST/SD).
  • Showcase student work for the wider community.
  • Meet students from other communities.
  • Have some fun and celebrate with kids!

Learn more or download the 2017 DynamiQueST brochure.

Making Thinking Visible: Causal Loops

Causal loop diagrams (also known as CLDs) are used to show the feedback within a system. Feedback is shown as a circular causal relationship within the system. They are used to show and understand the interactions within a system.

In general, there are two types of loops balancing and reinforcing. In a balancing loop a change in the starting variable leads to a change in the opposite direction. In a reinforcing loop a change in the original variable causes an additional change of the same variable in the same direction. See the video for more information about these loops.

In Systems Thinking a connection circle is used to uncover the problem and then a causal loop is used to diagram it.

Lessons using Causal Loops



System Dynamics Models


Introduction to building System Dynamics Models.

More videos



Recent Newsletter Articles

Remembering Jay Forrester
July 14, 1918 –November 16, 2016
by Ralph Brauer

Jay Forrester

Concord. The name reverberates in the American mind with the sharp crack of unexpected gunshots, volleys of regeneration, signaling a change in direction. Warning shots aim at the status quo, pulled by the itchy trigger finger of the future, driven by fractious impertinence.

It was for a revolution I came to Concord in 2012, but it was not Emerson’s nor the one so grandly celebrated by the town on the upcoming Fourth, but one led by a tall, lanky, white-haired former Nebraska prairie dweller named Jay Forrester. This revolution bears the title of system dynamics, words that promise to be as world shaking as the other ones that rocked Concord. They herald a change of perspective as radical as Emerson’s transcendentalism.

Read more in The Exchange

A New Kind of System Dynamics Software

What is Splash!?

Liquid Physics + System Dynamics = Splash!

Whether it’s managing your health, planning your retirement or addressing climate change, System Dynamics (SD) can help us tackle the wide variety of dynamic problems we find in the world around us.

There are several software products available in the market to create system dynamics models. These highly capable and flexible tools are often designed for advanced users and professionals. But they can end up being intimidating and boring for those who are just starting to learn system dynamics.

Read more in The Exchange or visit the Splash! page.


Download the most recent copy of The Exchange vol 26.1


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The Creative Learning Exchange, 27 Central St., Acton, MA, 01720, (978) 635-9797. Comments/Questions?