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Getting Started with Systems Thinking and System Dynamics in K-12 education


At the Creative Learning Exchange, we believe the best way to begin developing a core understanding of the functioning and impact of systems is through individual exploration. Workshops and courses are also available to enhance individual learning. Below you will find a set of learning opportunities to get you started.



Individual Exploration


Introduction to System Dynamics

The Creative Learning Exchange has created a packet of six articles that introduces the use of system dynamics in K-12 Education. These articles touch on the important concepts of system dynamics, How to implement SD in K-12 Education, and How to explain systems thinking in 25 words or less.


Road Maps: A self-study guide for learning System Dyamics

Road Maps is organized as a series of chapters, and was developed by the System Dynamics in Education Project (SDEP) at MIT under the direction of Professor Jay Forrester. Road Maps teaches the reader how to identify different kinds of systems all around us and how to model these systems. Road Maps can be a resource for both beginners and advanced system dynamics modelers, and requires no previous system dynamics knowledge and only basic math skills.


CLE Resource List

Composite list summarizing the CLE web. This resource list touches as the various aspects of CLE website and how each part could inform educators.



Workshops & Conferences


The Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Biennial Conference

The Creative Learning Exchange hosts a biennial conference that provides resources and an opportunity for educators and interested citizens to explore what is current and possible in K-12 systems education. It is designed to involve experienced individuals as well as novices. 

Teaching K-12 Students



A variety of simulations allowing students to explore the consequences of actions. Explore how logging and planting rates impacts forests, see what happens to the number of friends based on actions, and many more. Explore these simulations to learn more about Systems Thinking and to use systems to teach fundamental concepts.


The Shape of Change Lessons

Using hands-on activities, new learning tools, teamwork, and dialogue these lesson foster a high level of critical thinking and inquiry.


In these games and activities for the beginning Systems Thinker, students explore behavior-over-time graphs and the causes behind the changes.


Dollars and Sense Lessons
An introductory set of lessons focused on teaching about personal finance. Student explore various facets of finance using models as they expand their understanding of finance and system dynamics.



For System Dynamics Practitioners

A selection of material designed especially for those who are conversant with the field of system dynamics and wish to encourage the teaching the concepts of system dynamics to children, in school and at home.


For CLE Workshop Participants

Materials collated and gathered to help and guide CLE workshop participants. This packet contains material that is useful during and after the workshop.




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