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
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”.
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