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"Developing systems citizens must become the core purpose of education today--

nurturing the next generation of young people whose capacity to understand interdependence

is commensurate with the interdependence

that shapes our lives."

- Peter Senge



This video from the Waters Foundation shows how first graders (!) use systems thinking to reconsider their own

playground behavior..

First graders think about their relationships using a causal loop

(2.5 min)


Climate Change,

Systems Thinking & Dynamic Modeling:

Drew Jones explains climate change using a bathtub simulation
(8 min)

Just for Teachers


Teaching Systems Thinking to K-12 Students

Over the last several years, there has been an increased focus on teaching systems thinking to children and youth. (Some might argue that it's less about 'teaching' and more about nurturing children's innate understanding of systems.) In any event, this is great news for K-12 classroom teachers interested in bringing systems thinking into their classrooms, because there are more resources than ever before to teach systems thinking in the classroom..

Teachers can find free online tutorials, lesson plans and professional development opportunities to learn about integrating systems thinking and system dynamics tools and concepts into math, science, literature, social studies and more.



Waters Foundation's Systems Thinking in Schools Project has a wealth of resources for K-12 teachers interested in systems thinking, including a very helpful online tutorial. Their 'Habits of a Systems Thinker' are particularly valuable--I use them to introduce systems thinking to kids (and adults!) all the time.

Creative Learning Exchange is the go-to spot if you'd like to learn more about how to use computer modeling software and system dynamics in the classroom. They have an active listserv where you can join in conversations with other teachers using ST/SD all over the world.

SOL Education Partnership offers an inspiring overview and opportunities to connect with others who are using systems thinking in education as part of an overall movement to bring about systemic change for a sustainable future.

In Washington State, systems thinking has a new focus for K-12 teachers thanks to the revised WA State Science Standards and the Integrated Environmental & Sustainability Standards.

Working with the many innovative partners within E3, a small group of systems thinking consultants and educators in the Northwest are setting out to teach systems, systems thinking, and dynamic modeling to support these standards and to assist Washington State educators. This work is still in its early stages. More updates and resources will be posted here as they're made available. Here's the latest:


Integrated Environmental & Sustainability Standards

Free Download! Sustainable Tomorrow Guidebook

Working with Pacific Education Institute, my colleague Colleen Ponto and I developed a guidebook to explain systems thinking principles and tools so that educators could add systems thinking exercises to existing lessons about environmental sustainability.

Click Here to download Sustainable Tomorrow: A Systems Thinking Guidebook for Environmental Education (Grades 9-12)


WA State Science Standards

For a look at the 2009 Washington State K-12 Science Standards related to Systems, click here.

WA State Environmental & Sustainability Education Standards

Systems and systems thinking are embedded in the 2009 Washington State Integrated Environmental & Sustainability Learning Standards! Click here to learn more.



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