Lower Elementary3 more
Cross-Curricular

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is a current frame of thought that shows how connections and feedback loops work in complicated systems. This thinking is making its way into schools, with students working on virtual simulations (SIMs). By investigating how individual parts of a system work, students are able to get a better understanding of how the parts make a whole.
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A Collection By Jeffrey Sack
  • 8 Collection Items
  • 8 Collection Items
  • Discussion
Systems Thinking
  • Moon Ball Game

    Lesson plan
    donellameadows.org
    donellameadows.org
    Jeffrey Sack says:
    A short activity that would be a good way to introduce systems thinking in a classroom. Suitable for all ages, this activity asks a group of people to keep a ball in the air for as long as they can. The facilitator then debriefs the participants as to how they did it and what the purpose was.
  • Jeffrey Sack says:
    This collection of resources from the Waters Foundation details the theory and pedagogy behind the use of systems thinking in schools. There are embedded videos of interviews with experts in the field. It provides a list of strategies for how to embark on a systems thinking curriculum and also has an extensive list of additional resources.
  • Jeffrey Sack says:
    This lesson plan is a great activity that allows students to design their own system and see why the parts of it are essential for the functioning of the whole. There is great details as for what the teacher and students should do and it provides a good way to wrap up the lesson to check for understanding.
  • ascd.org
    ascd.org

    How Systems Thinking Applies to Education

    20 minute read
    Jeffrey Sack says:
    A great article that outlines some of the history of systems thinking and outlines why it is an important methodology for schools. This would be a nice place to start.
  • Jeffrey Sack says:
    Trace Pickering from Iowa presents a professional development workshop about implementing systems thinking in schools. He is very passionate about the topic and seems to know quite a lot. This video would be another great place to start to get smarter about the paradigm of systems thinking.
  • Jeffrey Sack says:
    The Waters Foundation has produced this excellent online course that takes teachers through the theory and practice of using systems thinking in their classrooms. The course is broken down into individual topics, each presenting a lesson plan with outcomes of expectations. This would be an excellent place to go to become proficient in the idea of systems thinking.
  • Jeffrey Sack says:
    Peter Sengue, one of the leading experts on systems thinking, gives an interview about his new book and discusses why it is important for students to perform this type of thinking. This video supports the other materials in the collection.
  • Jeffrey Sack says:
    An ecosystem is probably one of the most familiar systems with which a student is familiar. This activity examines the "system" part of an ecosystem by using systems thinkings. There are links to online video sources and also downloable handouts. While geared towards grades 6-8, the lesson plan can be adapts for lower or higher grades.
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