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CLE Curriculum: Oscillating Systems
Experiencing Ups & Downs Over Time: 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 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. The visual impact of a system can be described as the "tip of an iceberg". Much of the mass of the iceberg is hidden below the surface - much like complex systems. Please use this iceberg visual to conceptualize the complexity of many oscillating systems.
Lessons about the dynamics of oscillating systems are divided into three age categories. Level A lessons are for students from age 5 and older, Level B are for students 8 and older, Level C lessons are designed for students 13 years old and older.
Please explore the lessons below to learn more about oscillating systems and the surprising implications of these systems.
Download Lessons (PDF):
Level A Lessons
Level B Lessons
Level C Lessons
Oscillating Systems Lessons and Simulations
Feel free to pick and choose among them, but we believe the greatest impact on student learning will occur when they are exposed to the same idea in many different contexts. For that reason, the simulations do have a suggested order:
1) Spring Dynamics
2) Interpersonal Relationships
Predator and Prey Interactions
3) Population Dynamics (Logistic Growth)
4) Predator and Prey (Cyclic Behavior)
5) Predator, Prey and Food
How can individual choices and work styles lead to cycles of burnout (as characterized by apathy and low energy)?
7) Economics of Commodities
Given a scenario of raising hogs to meet a particular need, what affects price and availability of the commodities (products) that people use in everyday life?