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Making Thinking Visible: Causal Loops


Causal loop diagrams (also known as CLDs) are used to show the feedback within a system. Feedback is shown as a circular causal relationship within the system. They are used to show and understand the interactions within a system.

In general, there are two types of loops balancing and reinforcing. In a balancing loop a change in the starting variable leads to a change in the opposite direction. In a reinforcing loop a change in the original variable causes an additional change of the same variable in the same direction. See the video for more information about these loops.

In Systems Thinking a connection circle is used to uncover the problem and then a causal loop is used to diagram it.


Public Speaking: Factors of Success
By Pat Burrows and Anne LaVigne
Practicing their speeches in order to improve their final performance, students learn to understand how various factors relating to performance affect one another and learn to give specific information about patterns observed.

Connected Wisdom Teacher's Guide
By Linda Booth Sweeney
The Connected Wisdom Teacher’s Guide is designed to guide educators through lesson plans that will explain living systems principles for their students. The guide was created with students aged 10-18 in mind, but the lessons can be adapted for younger students. It is a companion to Connected Wisdom: Living Stories about Living Systems. Look for Causal Loops (CLDs) in Chapters 9 and 10!

Visual Tools for Student Projects: Communicating Critical Thinking
By The Creative Learning Exchange
This guide helps teachers and students create projects in all areas of the curriculum. Using Visual Tools (like CLDs) make explicit and visible the thinking behind student work, helping students create their projects at a new level of communication and understanding. Learn More...

Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures
By Linda Booth Sweeney and Renata Pomponi
This Playkit, Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures, is a game to help students think deliberately about living systems in a farm setting and give students a mental framework to take home and apply in other contexts.

Through this game, students explore the hidden interconnections and dynamics surrounding the 'Egg Mobile', a portable chicken coop designed for sustainable farming at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA. Students will answer the question: What's the connection between the Egg Mobile and a healthy pasture? Learn More...



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