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CLE Conference Archive for 2004
The Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Biennial Conference

Communication Using Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling

Here are the presentations and documents from the CLE conference in June of 2004. If you missed the most recent conference and you want to make sure that you do not miss the next one pleaseĀ registerwith the Creative Learning Exchange.

General Conference Materials:

Conference Program
The program for the System Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Conference hosted by the Creative Learning Exchange in June, 2004.

GEORGE RICHARDSON: "Thinking about Systems Thinking:How We Improve"
Keynote Presentation

JOHN STERMAN: "Why I Want My Children to Learn System Dynamics"
Keynote Presentation

JOHN HEINBOKEL and JEFF POTASH: "Using a “Ladder of Engagement ” as a Template for Guiding Student Activities with Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling"
Keynote Presentation

Session Handouts and Presentations

Listed below are the 33 sessions from the 2004 CLE conference and any affiliated handouts and presentations.

Wednesday Sessions
Wednesday Sessions - Thursday Sessions - Friday Sessions

1. Systems Thinking: Visual Tools for Increasing Student Learning - Mary Scheetz, The Waters Foundation,Portland,OR
Learners of every age can benefit from using visual tools to map their thinking. This session will introduce the concepts and mechanics of an array of systems thinking tools and will demonstrate how K-12 educators and students have used the tools to increase student learning. Participants will have opportunities to use some of the tools in an experimental practice field.

2. Introduction to Computer Modeling with STELLA - Ron Zaraza, Wilson High School, Portland, OR
Dynamic models deal with the way in which important variables (quantities)change in a system.Understanding how to build some basic models helps us understand the basic patterns
of change we see in systems.In this workshop,participants will familiarize themselves with the basic tools of STELLA and System Dynamics (stocks,.ows,converters,connectors),then
build models that exhibit linear and exponential growth.These will be expanded into simple population models and population models that show s-shaped (goal-seeking)growth.These basic
model structures are the core models from which thousands of useful models are derived.Bring a computer,if you have one, to work in teams.
Session Handouts

3. Intermediate/Advanced Model Building Workshop - Jim Lyneis,Worcester Polytechnic Institute,and Deb Lyneis,Creative Learning Exchange,Weston,VT
Participants will conceptualize,build and analyze a small model step by step.Participants should be experienced with basic modeling and familiar with the workings of Vensim or STELLA.

4. Connecting Systems Thinking to the Larger Dynamics in the Fields of Teaching and Learning - Will Costello,Chittendon South S.D.,Champlain Valley UHS,Hinesburg,VT
Where does our work fit in relation to other,major thrusts in educational reform?Are we a tiny outlier or do we share some fundamental aspects with current research on thinking,memory,
learning,and teaching?Education has long been anomalous for consisting of two (inappropriately)distinct fields:research and application.This distinction is finally beginning to evaporate as schools look more to educational research and statistical data in guiding their decisions.What is the role of systems in reshaping and becoming an integral component in the school of the future? How do we insure that “systems ”has a voice in teaching and thinking across a wide spectrum of educational delivery?This session will be one of discussion and information.Bring what you have and a willingness to share.
Session Handout

5. Learning from the Past - Jeff Potash and John Heinbokel,CIESD,LLP,Vermont Commons School, South Burlington,VT
Jay Forrester 's frequent admonition to “share your mistakes” recognizes the extraordinary power with which experienced modelers can accelerate the learning curve of “newbies ”through sharing a variety of modeling errors they have observed and committed in the course of their own maturation.We may prefer to talk about our glorious victories,but thoughtful reflection on
and analysis of our errors can result in growth and improvement. In this interactive session,we draw upon our own impressive repertoire of mistakes,as well as those of others (who shall
remain nameless!),to advise aspiring modelers on pitfalls best avoided.

6. It 's Elementary!How Elementary School Teachers and Administrators Use Systems Thinking in Classrooms - Jennifer Arzberger,Patrice Becicka, Gaylen Brannon,Liane Cooper,Kendra Hanzlik,Becky Hill,Donna Hollm,Cheryl Kiburz,Kathy Kittredge,Tracy Laue,Veda Lawrence,Julie McCann,and Joan Scurran, Waters Foundation Action Research Group
Elementary teachers who have used systems thinking concepts and tools in their classrooms will share their experiences. Teachers ' areas of interest include reading comprehension and related literacy topics,the study of ecosystems,and student self-management skills.The session will begin with teacher presenters sharing classroom applications of systems thinking and insights gained,followed by presenter and participant dialogue sessions for more in-depth sharing and conversation.All presenters have participated in Waters Foundation collaborative action research,which challenged them to investigate the effects of systems thinking on student and/or adult learning.
(Note: This document is also available under sessions 14 and 26)
Session Handouts

7. How Does a Model Facilitate Learning?Some Preliminary Experimental Findings —Larry Weathers and Robin Goldstein,Harvard Public Schools,Harvard, MA,and David Wheat,PhD student,University of Bergen
Research suggests that a traditional undergraduate economics education does not provide an adequate understanding of essential macroeconomics.The hypothesis is that the weakness in economics education stems from instructional methods that fail to provide a learning framework that supports a useful mental model of a national economy.One of the authors is developing a system dynamics model and interactive learning environment (“MacroLab ”)that he uses in a macroeconomics distance- learning course for Virginia community college students.He is
also developing a set of experiments to test the effectiveness of MacroLab as an instructional tool.The purpose of one of the experiments is to compare the learning that takes place with three different methods of delivering essentially the same information about Gross Domestic Product to three student groups.The three delivery methods are (1)simple narrative only, (2)the same narrative,accompanied by a diagram revealed in stages (using STELLA 's “story ”feature),and (3)the same narrative and diagram,accompanied by a simulation activity. The second author recently administered this experiment to secondary students in the Harvard Public Schools system
in Massachusetts.Additional experiments are underway this spring at both secondary and higher education institutions.This paper presents the preliminary .ndings and,hopefully,sheds some light on how a model facilitates learning.
Session Handout

8. Using Infection and Population Models in Interdisciplinary Lessons - Ron Zaraza,Portland Public Schools,Portland,OR,and Scott Guthrie, Portland Public Schools -Wilson H.S.,Portland,OR
Basic population models can be adapted to many different situations that show exponential or goal-seeking behavior.In addition,the basic infection model and its extensions illustrate a wide range of human problems and interactions,from disease spread to advertising and marketing.Perhaps more importantly, the very basic population and infection models themselves can be used to explore many questions in geography,economics, human biology,population studies,ecology,history,and related .elds.This session will explore ways of using the simplest population and infection models and a few simple extensions of them to enhance student learning in a wide range of topics. Applications cover the full range of subjects taught in middle and
high school.Examples will be shared from more than ten years of classroom use of the models.Focus will be on concepts and content speci .c activities,not active modeling.The models will be used,not created.
Session Handout

9. Creating Content Specific Lessons Incorporating System Dynamics Models - Diana Fisher,Portland Public Schools -Wilson H.S.,Portand,OR
Examples of system dynamics lessons will be explored.These lessons fall into one of four categories:Introductory SD lessons that reinforce simple core content;Second level lessons to
study more sophisticated behavioral interactions over time; and two additional levels that require students to create original models
Session Handout

10. Savagery,Fear,and Leadership:Feedback in Lord of the Flies - Amy Lovin and Steve Kipp,Glynn County Schools,Brunswick,GA
In addition to the usual examination of plot,character,setting, and theme,students in a 10 th Grade Literature and Composition class used behavior-over-time graphs,causal loop diagrams, and a STELLA model to examine the human dynamics in William Golding 's Lord of the Flies .Please join us as we reproduce this lesson experience,exploring questions such as “Why do we need rules?”“Is fear a choice we make?”and “How could Ralph have been successful in leading the boys?”
Session Handout

11. Learning Environments in Biology.STELLA- based Food Chain and Fly a Cell -Sarah Strack and Kristen Mahony,Champlain Valley Union High School, Hinesburg,VT
Participants will learn how to use two STELLA-based learning environments,Food Chain and Fly a Cell,to teach biology and environmental science concepts.Both learning environments meet national science education standards,and are inquiry- based science experiments that take students from beyond memorizing names and functions to building their understanding of how things work as dynamic systems.Experienced high school biology teachers,who have practical classroom experience with these products,will be leading the session with sample lesson plans to use in your classroom.
Session Handout

12. Manage Middle Eastern Oil with STELLA:the OPEC Simulation - Chris Lambert and Dave Mason, Catalina Foothills High School Social Studies Teachers and Mike Slootmaker,Catalina Foothills High School Systems Mentor,Tucson,AZ
Participants will engage in the multi-player OPEC simulation as high school students do when studying the social and economic interdependencies intrinsic in the production,sale and consumption of petroleum in the Middle East.See how analyzing connections,leverage,scarcity,and current events interplay in the global petroleum arena.
Session Handout

13. How Did I Get that Grade?Helping Students See the Effects of Their Academic Decisions over Time - Anne LaVigne,Catalina Foothills School District, Tucson,AZ
Do your students sometimes not understand how their decisions about school affect them over time?Do they question how they received a particular grade?In this session,participants will see a simple computer simulation that can help middle/high school students understand how their choices regarding completing, doing quality work on,and turning in homework affect the report card grades they receive.Participants will also see how use of the iceberg visual and a kinesthetic activity can help students understand/evaluate their current academic reality and make a plan to achieve a self-selected academic goal.
Session Handout

Wednesday Night - Roundtable discussion moderated by George Richardson
Panel included Jay Forrester,Andy Ford,Jim Lyneis,George Richardson and John Sterman

Thurdsay Sessions
Wednesday Sessions - Thursday Sessions - Friday Sessions

14. What 's Happening in High School?How High School Teachers and Administrators Use Systems Thinking Concepts and Tools in Their Classrooms - Anne Boswell,Maureen Byrne,Lou Garard,Dave Hamilton,Steve Kipp,Chris Lambert,Amy Lovin,Dave Mason,Ron Peterman,Mary Scheetz,Mike Slootmaker, Sarah Strack,Tim Taber,and Larry Weathers,Waters
Foundation Action Research Group
Science,Algebra,Language Arts,Social Studies and more… High School teachers share the many ways students use systems thinking strategies to increase learning.Session participants will have a chance to dialogue in small groups with teacher practitioners to ask questions,share insights,and
generate new ideas as to how systems thinking can positively impact high school students ' learning.All presenters have participated in Waters Foundation collaborative action research,
which challenged them to investigate the effects of systems thinking on student and/or adult learning.
See session 6 for handouts

15. Dynamics of Open Content Development for Introducing Systems Thinking/System Dynamics in K-12 Education - Vedat G.Diker,Assistant Professor, College of Information Studies,University of Maryland
Development and diffusion of highly accessible,high quality instructional materials are important leverage points for propagating the systems thinking/system dynamics approach in K-12 education.This presentation introduces a dynamic feedback framework for analyzing policy problems in open online content development projects,and testing possible solutions.The framework was developed by integrating the insights derived from a system dynamics model representing a hypothetical open online content development community,and the findings of interviews with the members of the system dynamics K-12 community.
Session Handout

16. Working with the Five Disciplines:the Dutch Way - Guus Geisen and Jan Jutten,Schools That Learn Group,The Netherlands
In the Netherlands,education has lost a lot of its status.We cannot get enough teachers:they compare this work with being a policeman.(“How do I control this classroom?”)More and more teachers leave the school for a “better ”job.For about seven or eight years we have worked with Peter Senge 's ideas in schools. We are working with the five disciplines,in the school and in the
classroom as well,using systems thinking as a leverage to use the disciplines and connect them with multiple intelligence,habits of minds and cooperative learning.We work with teachers and
principals,but the real leverage came when we started working with children.They are the key to the future.In this workshop we want to share our experiences with you:how we got so inspired,
what exactly we are doing in the Netherlands,what our plans are for the future.We will also tell shortly about the historical background of this “Dutch movement ”and we will give some
examples from our fieldwork.
Session Handout

17. Using Systems to Develop Literacy Among Elementary Students - Liane Cooper and Donna Hollm,Catalina Foothills School District Elementary Teachers,Julie Guerrero,CFSD Elementary Systems Mentor,Tucson,AZ
Participants will experience lessons that integrate systems concepts and tools with proven literacy strategies in order to meet district reading standards derived from National Standards.There will be active participation in intermediate as well as primary activities that teachers can adapt for use in their classrooms.Experience Level:Appropriate for beginners and anyone interested in systems work in elementary schools (primary and intermediate grades)
Session Handout

18. The Virtual School District:A Reflective Place for School and District Leaders - Dennis Arthur Conners, Program Director &Faculty Tutor,Leadership Formation Program,School of Education,Gonzaga University, Spokane,WA
Preparing leaders for tomorrow 's schools requires a fundamentally different approach.Dramatically expanding the ideas of a learning lab by creating a virtual school district, this session will detail how Gonzaga University 's Leadership Formation Program “forms ”principals,program administrators, and superintendents to deal with the dynamic complexity inherent in leading educational organizations in this era of No Child Left Behind .The session will describe how systems thinking,as a perspective and as a set of tools,is used within the virtual school district of this graduate program as a means to support strategic thinking,group discussion,and team learning as the candidates attempt to understand and address the multiple problems of enhancing student,professional and systems learning.
Session Handout

19. What CAN Our Students Learn:The Kids Tell the Story - Paul Griffith,Portland Schools,Portland,OR
Sixth grade students from Winterhaven School,a math,science and technology special focus option in the Portland Public Schools,will be available to talk with and answer questions during a poster session.Students have begun to learn about basic Systems Thinking/Dynamic Modeling concepts in the past year as the staff works toward implementing a K-8 Systems Thinking/Dynamic Modeling curriculum component for their school.

20. What Works in Staff Meetings:A Middle School Principal 's Experience Using System Dynamics - Mary Quinnan,Tucson Unified School District,Tucson, AZ
Does the utilization of systems tools in professional development, the evaluation process,and organizational management create a “ripple ”effect that influences school culture and academic
achievement?How does the use of system dynamics during staff meetings impact staff awareness and transfer to classroom practice?Share in taking a look at the practical application of systems tools in a middle school setting with issues such as staff communication,the impact of instructional strategies on student engagement and the problem of student failure,retention and social promotion
Session Handout

21. Using Storytelling Features of STELLA to Communicate —Scott Guthrie,Portland Public Schools -Wilson H.S.,Portland,OR
Sometimes you have a group you want to explain a model to that doesn 't really understand STELLA.Sometimes you have a complicated model you wish to explain to a group,but you don 't want to overwhelm them with it all at once.STELLA has features built into it that allow you to slowly build the story of your model to an audience.This session will show you how to use all those hidden and little used features of STELLA.
Session Handout

22. Using Non Computer Activities in Grades 3-8 - Rob Quaden,Alan Ticotsky,and Debra Lyneis,Carlisle, MA Public Schools,Waters Foundation Project
Participants in this hands-on session will engage in and learn how to lead simulations designed for students in grades 3-8. These classroom-tested activities are selected from a set of systems lessons developed or adapted by the presenters.See how important concepts and principles can be brought alive for students using ordinary classroom materials.
See the book "The Shape of Change" for examples of these lessons

23. Systemic Planning and Decision Making - Ralph Brauer,Transforming Schools Consortium,Ramsey,MN, Jeff Potash and John Heinbokel,CIESD,LLP,Vermont Commons School,South Burlington,VT
We call this experience an open house rather than a seminar or workshop because it is designed to open the doors and windows of your minds to the insights System Dynamics can bring to P-12
education.The “house ”we are opening is the systemic planning process highlighted in the winter edition of The Exchange. We want to give you a chance to live in that house,to actually explore and run a large-scale System Dynamics model of a real school district.We will use the model to frame specific issues of your choice such as staffing,budgeting,and maximizing student performance.Our style will be participative and collaboratory, featuring hands-on experiences and frank discussions.Our intent is to stimulate thought,not provide a “magic bullet.”We guarantee after this experience you will never view schools the same way again.

24. Simulating Habitat Restoration:Surprising Results from a Student Project on the Tucannon
Salmon Model - Andy Ford,Washington State University,Pullman,WA
This session works through a case study of habitat restoration on the Tucannon River in eastern Washington.The model was implemented in STELLA with photographs to connect the model variables to images of river water in various stages of recovery. The images and the simulations will be presented at Skamania, along with the surprising results that emerged when the student experimented with the new model.The session concludes with lessons from one doctoral student 's experiences that show promise for transferring to the K-12 setting.
Session Handout

25.So What Would A Systems Thinker Do? - Mary Scheetz,The Waters oundation,Portland,OR
This workshop will involve participants in activities and discussions related to the habits of a systems thinker in the context of a variety of scenarios,including K-12 curriculum examples,family and work situations,and school change challenges.The habits of a systems thinker used in this workshop have been adapted from the work of Linda Booth Sweeney and Dennis Meadows
and are described in the Systems Thinking Playbook.Strategies for developing the habits of a systems thinker will be identified and practiced.
Session Handout

Friday Sessions
Wednesday Sessions - Thursday Sessions - Friday Sessions

26. Making Meaning at the Middle Level:How Middle School Teachers and Administrators Use Systems Thinking - Anne Boswell,Gaylen Brannon,Cheryl Dow,Robin Goldstein,Karen Greene,Anne LaVigne, David Lyons,Willie Poinsette,Rob Quaden,Mary Quinnan,Paul Seidler,and Katie Starbuck,Waters Foundation Action Research Group
Over one dozen middle school educators will share insights gained through classroom application of systems thinking.As teachers share their systems learning journeys,they will highlight a variety of systems tools,subject areas,and instructional strategies.Following these brief presentations,participants will have a chance to dialogue in small groups with the teacher practitioners to ask questions,share insights,and generate new ideas as to how systems thinking can positively impact middle level learning.All presenters have participated in Waters Foundation collaborative action research,which challenged them to investigate the effects of systems thinking on student and/or adult learning.
See session 6

27. Panarchy:A Metaphor for Conveying Systems Concepts and Improving Systems Thinking Skills - Richard Plate,School of Natural Resources and Environment,University of Florida,Gainesville,FL
The term “Panarchy ”is a blend of “hierarchy ”and Pan,the Greek nature god who revels in disorder.Ecologists Lance Gunderson and C.S.Holling use the term to describe their view of systems and the adaptive cycles systems go through at all levels of scale.While their ideas are used broadly in the field of natural resource management,they may prove equally useful as a means of visualizing system dynamics without the luxury of a computer model.In this session,I will provide an introduction to Panarchy as a pedagogical tool in the context of Richmond 's seven essential thinking skills.Then,I will solicit the insights of session participants in a discussion about potential applications for —and barriers to —using Panarchy in the classroom.
Session Handout

28. Nota Bene – How You Will Create a Useful Notebook and Learn Interesting Things about System Dynamics —Tim Joy,De La Salle North Catholic High School,Portland,OR
Help students organize the array of new tools,new skills,and new concepts in an easy-to-learn,easy-to-maintain notebook system.This workshop will help you combine the structure and rigor of a scienti .c notebook with the openness and flexibility of a writer ’s notebook.Some features of this workshop include “ Just Right ”Stories —a collection of one-and two-sentence system stories,a handful of class warm ups,effective but brief notebook evaluation methods,and a handful of other lesson tips on helping students reach through simple models and capture some meaning.Participants will set up and use a notebook, participate in a few exercises,briefly evaluate their work,and walk away with their own notebook and the experience of how to make it a tool in their own classrooms.Participants will receive a copy of Writing and Modeling:using a notebook to learn about System Dynamics.

29. Teaching Systems Thinking with Spreadsheets - Mohammad Mojtahedzadeh,Managing Director,Attune Group,Inc.,and Deborah Upton,Assistant Professor, Stonehill College,MA
This presentation will be about bringing systems thinking tools and techniques to the spreadsheet programs for high school students.We have developed a software package add-in called Exposé to Microsoft Excel that facilitates utilizing systems thinking tools in spreadsheets.Exposé provides a graphical environment that interacts with MS Excel in real-time and allows students to work with models in a graphical environment as well as in spreadsheets.Exposé maps out interrelations among cells and variables that remain hidden in the spreadsheet models in the form of tree diagrams and feedback loop process.The software automatically highlights dynamic and stock variables to help users to focus on one of the most important sources of dynamic complexity.Exposé provides many features that help students to better understand the subtlety of dynamic systems in mathematics,economics,physics and biology.In this presentation,we demonstrate how the new technology can help in utilizing systems thinking tools for teaching students who already know spreadsheet programs.
Session Handout

30. A Systems Approach to Teaching Immunology for High School - Sarah Strack,Champlain Valley Union High School,Hinesburg,VT
As a 10th-grade teacher of a required course in Human Biology,I was searching for some more powerful instructional approaches to improve student performance on the Immunology Unit of the course.At a Waters Foundation R&D site I had the opportunity to work with a Waters consultant and develop a unit that included the NERDS simulation,student-extended STELLA models for immunization,and stock/.ow maps for antigen/antibody dynamics.Student performance was compared to past classes and student feedback was gathered as to the effectiveness of the approach.
Session Handout

31. Recruiting and Retaining a High Quality Mathematics and Science Teaching Workforce Using a System Dynamics Simulation - Daniel Burke,Ph.D.Deputy Director for Education,The CNA Corporation,Alexandria,VA;Linda Cavalluzzo,Ph.D., Senior Education Analyst,The CNA Corporation, Alexandria,VA;Joseph Harris,Ed.D.,Senior Associate, The McKenzie Group,Washington,DC;Gary Hirsch, Consultant,Creator of Learning Environments
School districts,particularly urban and high poverty districts, have critical shortages of science and mathematics teachers. We are developing a system dynamics-based management simulator linking hiring,retention,teacher quality,and student achievement to district resources.This will enable districts to run “what if ”experiments to determine the best mix of resource allocation among recruiting,induction,mentoring,professional development,retention increases,and delaying retirement to optimize the quality of the instructional workforce
Session Handout

32.Using Dynamic Models to Teach Ecology/ Environmental Science —Ron Zaraza,Portland Public Schools,Portland,OR
Many of the topics covered in ecology and environmental science classes focus on patterns of growth and feedback relationships, key ideas in System Dynamics.Many of these same ideas are explored in traditional biology classes and even in some social studies classes (particularly classes looking at global cultures and civilizations).This workshop will present a number of simple models that have been tested in ecology classes (some for 5 years)as well as examples and suggestions for their use in a variety of classroom activities.Included will be a discussion of how these models allow students to enrich their understanding of basic topics by assisting them in making the transition from abstract concepts to real applications and explorations of these topics.
Session Handout

33.Looking at Everyday Artifacts and Finding the Systems Message - Linda Booth Sweeney,Harvard School of Education,Cambridge,MA
This will be a working session that looks at every day artifacts — including children 's books,text books,school posters, newspapers,computer software,even museum displays— from a systems perspective.We 'll explore questions such as: How are interconnections and dynamics represented?How are feedback loops represented (or not)when feedback is present? Please bring your own examples.

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