Systems Thinking

In Washington State, our new Science Standards are based on 3 Cross Cutting Abilities (Systems, Inquiry, & Application) and 3 Domains of Science- Physical Science, Earth/Space Science, and Life Science.

I have observed that Systems Thinking is not well understood and not explicitly present in most science instructional materials. This is unfortunate because a solid understanding of Systems Thinking can be a powerful teaching tool and also helps students make connections as they learn complex science concepts.

The good news is that there are a lot of resources for learning about Systems. I have listed some of my favorites below:

Dr. Art’s Guide to Science– Art Sussman’s book and site provide an easily understood take on Systems Thinking

NSDL Science Literacy Map for Systems

Science for All Americans Online- Chapter 11 Systems

Benchmarks Online- Systems

Questions to Ask about Systems– a great 1-pager from Project 2061

Washington State’s Science Standards– see how Systems thinking progresses from K-12

My School as a System– middle school lesson from Science NetLinks

The Bicycle as a System– middle school lesson from Science NetLinks

Cell as a System lesson

exploring systems centers worksheet

Washington State Systems Standards (I use these as an activity where I cut the standards into strips and ask participants to identify systems concepts in the K-12 standards) – sys k-12 extracted white background

Is it a System? Formative Assessment Probe from Uncovering Student Ideas in Science Vol. 4 by Page Keeley. I use this probe often in PD sessions on Systems- uncovers initial understanding of systems and is a great “conversation starter”.


2 responses to “Systems Thinking

  1. Pingback: Linda Booth Sweeney » Blog Archive » Food Systems, Climate Systems, Laundry Systems: It’s time for some systems literacy!

  2. Pingback: Science NetLinks-Back to School « Science for All

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