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Human Body Systems in K-12

October 27 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event
Pre-College SIG Seminar Series consists of periodic online meetings on K-12 education to the Systems Thinking and System Dynamics communities. These virtual activities cover a wide range of topics on K-12 education from many subjects while bringing together academics, teachers, and students together for learning and lively discussion. Our seminars aim to promote and improve skills to effectively apply systems thinking and dynamic computer simulation to K-12 education.  All seminars and recordings are free for both members and the general public.

How Sweet Is Sugar?

Obesity, although being preventable, is currently a global epidemic. According to the World Health Organization’s data worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. Since obesity and sugar consumption are closely linked, we aimed to design an activity plan using SD/ST tools on dietary sugar consumption in 2015. Since then the activity is updated every year and became a two- week program including more than ten activities.

In this presentation we want to introduce the main parts of this activity plan.

Ülkem Yararbaş

Ülkem Yararbaş, a professor of nuclear medicine, serves on the medical faculty at Ege University. She is one of the founders of the Systems Thinking Association in Turkey. In addition to the elective systems thinking courses she gives to medical school students, she voluntarily supports the activities for the infusion of ST/SD in the education system conducted by System Thinking Association-Turkey.

Human Body Systems

Since life needs energy, all living things contain various mechanisms that transfer energy to their cells to survive. We used system thinking in the 6th Grade Science Curriculum to teach how the human body systems work, including digestive, circulatory, respiratory, urination and defecation. Conceptual and numerical models were used in the lesson plans and learning materials by using SD/ST tools. Lesson plans were implemented in Darussafaka Middle School during the 2021-22 Academic Year. It will be updated and used in the new academic year.

In this presentation, we would like to share the design of the lessons and learning materials related to six human body systems.

Türkan Önal

Türkan Önal graduated with elementary science education, and she has been a teacher since 2017. She has worked for five years in Darüşşafaka where she met the Systems Thinking Association in Turkey. Last year she worked in Darüşşafaka to implement a system thinking approach into the middle school curricula via numerical modeling in 6th grade.

 HPV and Adaptive Immunity 

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most commonly transmitted sexually transmitted diseases which can lead to high rates of cervical and other cancers in infected individuals. The Gardasil vaccine prevents HPV infections. Students use the HPV and Adaptive Immunity simulation I created to understand how the adaptive immune system works to produce antibodies and the importance of vaccines in preventing and transmitting infectious diseases. Students compare the accumulation of antibodies in the blood after an HPV infection to understand the immune response. Additionally, students identify the positive and negative feedback loops in the model. The goal of the model is to help students understand the importance of being vaccinated to prevent the spread of HPV and the cancers it can generate.

Jon Darkow

Jon Darkow has taught a variety of biology courses at the high school and college level for the past 18 years at Seneca East High School in and through Bowling Green State University. Currently, Jon teaches AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, and Physics. Jon has diverse academic training with a B.A. in Sociology from Ohio State University in 2000. He has a post-bachelor in Life Science Education and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Ashland University. Additionally, Jon has been completing graduate courses in the Department of Biological Science at Bowling Green State University. Jon has developed a  robust set of online system dynamics models for students to explore biology and ecology at

 Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis

A lesson about glucose and insulin homeostasis was used with three high school Anatomy and Physiology classes. The lesson incorporated systems thinking and system dynamics (SD) tools. The presentation will highlight the sequence of the lesson and show several versions of the SD model. This classroom lesson was facilitated by Diana Fisher and Ed Gallaher. It was one lesson of four dealing with homeostasis that was used with the A&P students. The other three lessons involved body temperature regulation, calcium homeostasis, and the homeostatic response due to decrease in oxygen in red blood cells.

Dr. Diana M. Fisher

Teacher of mathematics for 30+ years and System Dynamics (SD) Modeling for 20 years, at the secondary school level. She has taught mathematics and SD modeling courses at the university level and teaches 3 online SD modeling courses for instructors each year.
She provided a NASA sponsored, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) workshop entitled “Modeling, Analysis and Simulation in Mathematics Using System Dynamics” (2008) and a two-week MODSym (Modeling and Simulation) course (2013), both for secondary school Mathematics teachers and both in Langley, Virginia.
Dr. Fisher has written and directed two National Science Foundation grants. The first grant was entitled Cross-Curricular Systems Thinking and Dynamics Using STELLA (CC-STADUS) from 1993 – 1997. The second grant was entitled Cross-Curricular Systems: Training and In-service (CC-SUSTAIN) 1997 – 2001. In each of these grants secondary school teachers from the disciplines of math, science, and social science were trained in the design of SD models and they wrote curriculum for their classes during the three-week summer training. She has written two books containing System Dynamics modeling lessons published by isee systems, inc.



October 27
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm EDT
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