Working to develop Systems Citizens in K-12 Education
Critical Thinking Using Systems Thinking & Dynamic Modeling
Learning occurs when either the content of the mental models changes (via the selecting flow), or the representation of the content changes (via the representing flow).
Barry Richmond, p.21
This new booklet correlates critical thinking skills with the use of systems thinking and dynamic modeling. After creating a definition of critical thinking, it expands upon how to use the tools of systems thinking and dynamic modeling to improve this important trait in students. The why and the how of using systems thinking and dynamic modeling in education are the fundamental topics covered in this introductory text.
10th Biennial Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Conference Video
The CLE hosted our 10th biennial ST/DM conference at the Babson Center in Wellesley, MA from June 30 to July 2, 2012. The theme for the conference this year was Critical Thinking: Using Systems Thinking and System Dynamics to address the State Common Core Standards and STEM standards.
This video excerpt is pulled from an informal chat with system dynamics pioneers, including George Richardson, Peter Senge, and Dennis Meadows. This opportunity to discuss and interact with such pioneers is one of the unique opportunities provided by the CLE at their biennial conference.
Lessons from THE LORAX
The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, is a classic children’s book that appeals to all ages. Told in a fanciful style, the story relates how an ambitious businessman named the Once-ler exploits all the resources of a small country. At the end of the story, the Once-ler regrets his actions, but is it too late?
Released in March of 2012, Studying The Lorax with Feedback Loops, students use connection circles and causal loops to understand and illustrate the themes of the story. By using these systems thinking tools, children can start to see the complexity of the interaction between the natural environment and economic development. Explore this lesson....
In the second lesson (April 2012), Lessons from The Lorax: Using Graphs to Study Change, students draw graphs to illustrate the changes that happen over the course of the story. This systems thinking tool makes the citizenship lessons from the story even more powerful by actively engaging readers.
Characteristics of Complex Systems Project - Oscillating Systems
Sometimes it seems as though it's impossible to understand what's causing all of the "craziness" of life's ups and downs. Many situations in a variety of contexts display this up-and-down oscillatory behavior.
A new series of lessons from the CLE allows students and others to play (using online simulations) with different oscillating systems. Through asking "what if" questions as part of an exploration, they can discover that the structure of a system itself creates the resulting variations. Given this understanding, they can look beyond blame to see the deeper nature of what is causing particular behaviors to occur.
Six oscillation lessons (The Cause of the Problem is within the System) are available from the Characteristics of Complex Systems Project.