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Making Thinking Visible: Behavior-over-time Graphs

A Behavior-over-time Graph (or BOTG) is a simple line graph that shows a pattern of change over time – it shows how something increases and decreases as time passes. This foundational Systems Tool is instrumental in modeling and understanding many systems. By teaching how to create, use, and understand BOTGs, teachers can help students understand both simple and complex concepts in a more robust way

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The following five articles and curriculum provide a gateway to using this powerful tool in the classroom.

Everyday Behavior-over-time Graphs
by Gene Stamel, & Debra Lyneis
An introduction to BOTGs, their usage, and design.

Three Things to Remember About Behavior-over-Time Graphs
by Alan Ticotsky
BOTGs are designed to represent our thinking. All BOTG graphs allow our 'mental models' to take a visual form so we can share them, or analyze them ourselves. Alan Ticotsky presents three insights which will help utilize BOTGs effectively.

Graphing the Friendship Game: A Preliminary System Dynamics Lesson
by Alan Ticotsky & Debra Lyneis
An introductory graphing lesson for students in grades K, 1 and 2, adding graphing to the systems tools used and systems concepts learned in the game.

Drawing and Reading Behavior-over-time Graphs: Four Math Lessons to Build Graphing Skills
Rob Quaden & Debra Lyneis
A series of exercises where students learn how to read and interpret graphs, to draw graphs to specify their ideas and explain them to others, and develop the skills of thinking and communicating in terms of graphs.

Tuck Everlasting: System Dynamics, Literature, and Living Forever
Carolyn Platt, Rob Quaden, & Debra Lyneis
In this lesson, students use system dynamics tools to explore themes in the novel "Tuck Everlasting," by Natalie Babbitt. Students use Behavior-over-time graphs and a simple system dynamics computer model to discuss their opinions on the story's major themes.

"Any fool can know. The point is to understand."
-- Albert Einstein

Will you join us to help students understand?


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