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A Leverage Point: Systems Thinking in Pre-Service “Teacher Training” Education

Dear Colleagues,

We are excited to invite you to our free webinar entitled ‘A Leverage Point: Systems Thinking in Pre-Service “Teacher Training” Education’ on Thursday, February 29, at 12:00 noon EST.

We consider courses that train pre-service precollege teachers to be one of the most critical places impacting in the formation of system citizens. The professors teaching these courses ultimately determine the criteria for topics and methods to be included within the curriculum and the criteria for student academic success.

The infusion of systems thinking in courses that train pre-service precollege teachers has the potential to be one of the most influential points on Donella Meadows’ list of places to intervene in a system, that is, the purpose of the system.

In this webinar, the experiences gained from the experiments carried out in precollege pre-service teacher training courses in Türkiye since 2019, the work done and plans for the future will be shared and a collaborative discussion environment will ensue where the presenters offer suggestions for those who want to undertake similar projects.

Timeline of courses where systems thinking is/was taught as a separate course (circle) or used as a tool in another course (triangle) by professors of education in Türkiye.

We strongly encourage you to come prepared with questions, contributions, suggestions, and ideas. Your insights will not only enrich the discussions but also provide a platform for collaborative learning and exploration.

We look forward to your active participation in this webinar. Let’s explore the world of systems dynamics together and uncover innovative ways to enhance education.

Best regards – the SIG leadership team.

Diana Fisher
Ülkem Yararbaş
Burcu Güngör Cabbar
Chang-Kwon (Benjamin) Chung
Donald DeLand
Ed Gallaher
Emre Göktepe
Gaye D. Ceyhan
Matilde (Lin Ya) Hong
Meltem C. Alibeyoğlu
Prof. Dr. Min-Ren Yan
Özgün Kurt Çetinkaya
Sena Yıldız Değirmenci
Steven Roderick
Şebnem F. Gezer

 

 

Burcu Güngör Cabbar

Dr. Burcu Güngör Cabbar studied Biology Education at Balikesir University. She took her Ph.D. in Biology Education at the same University. Cabbar worked as a biology teacher, research assistant, senior educator, and project coordinator at different NGOs. Since 2018, she has been working as an assistant and is now an associate professor at Balikesir University. She is a creative drama leader and P4C educator. She is a member of the Systems Thinking Association in Türkiye and many non-governmental organizations where she has been involved in the establishment and work. She is actively working in her organization and has courses about systems thinking at the faculty of education.

Gaye Ceyhan

Dr. Gaye Defne Ceyhan is an Assistant Professor of Science Education at Bogazici University. After working as a middle school science teacher for eight years, she received her Ph.D. in Science Education from Syracuse University. Her research focuses on STEM and climate change education, exploring innovative ways to teach STEM and emphasizing systems thinking, sustainable living, and climate change awareness. Dr. Ceyhan has been involved in several projects and has written academic papers to improve climate change education. Her academic endeavors aim to bridge the gap between scientific understanding and practical application in addressing environmental challenges.

Hasret Nuhoğlu

Dr. Hasret Nuhoğlu is a Professor of Mathematics and Science Education at Maltepe University. She received her Ph.D. in Science Education from Gazi University. Her Ph.D. thesis is a pioneering study in Türkiye concerning implementing system dynamics in K12 science education. Dr. Nuhoğlu has been involved in several projects and has written academic papers to improve Systems Thinking in Science Education, STEM Education, Systems Thinking in IB Program, and Science Education for Gifted Students. She is a founding member of Maltepe Children University, where she oversees workshops centered on “STEM in Nature.” She is a member of the System Thinking Association. Nuhoğlu believes that nature is the best teacher, and continues her learning journey by meeting with children and adults of all ages in nature.

Meltem Ceylan Alibeyoğlu

Meltem Ceylan Alibeyoğlu studied Mathematics at Middle East Technical University. She defended her Ph.D. thesis in environmental sciences at Boğaziçi University, İstanbul. Alibeyoğlu worked as a mathematics teacher, project coordinator, PYP Coordinator, and middle school academic coordinator at Darüşşafaka Educational Institutions. Since 2022, she has been working as a Research and Development Coordinator. She is a part-time instructor at boğaziçi University, MEF University. She is a member of the Systems Thinking Association in Türkiye and many non-governmental organizations where she has been involved in the establishment and work. She is actively working in her organization and the Association to develop the applications of systems thinking in education.

 

‘Model’ Teaching 1

We are excited to invite you to the first webinar in our upcoming series of three engaging sessions on ‘Model’ Teaching on Thursday, September 28, at 1:00 pm EST.

George Richardson, a world-class system dynamicist and educator, will guide participants through the core concepts and practical implications of systems dynamics model teaching. His extensive experience, particularly in working with K-12 teachers, ensures that the content will be both relevant and valuable for educators across different levels.

This series aims to provide:

  • a starting place for people new to the art of teaching modeling,
  • a source of ideas for teachers looking to advance what they’ve been doing,
  • for experts in these arts who might enjoy a comparative look,
  • some exchanges on pedagogy, which would benefit us all.

Before the first session of the series, we kindly ask participants to familiarize themselves with a 30-page set of notes prior to the webinar. These notes will serve as a foundation for the discussions, allowing you to contemplate how the models presented can be adapted to your specific settings or situations.

Please click here or on the image at below to access the notes.

The notes are a compilation of three papers previously published in System Dynamics Review. You can access the original articles using the links below:

 

The workshop format of the webinar is designed to encourage active participation. We highly encourage you to come prepared with questions, contributions, suggestions, and ideas. Your insights will not only enrich the discussions but also provide a platform for collaborative learning and exploration.

We look forward to your active participation in this enlightening webinar series. Let’s explore the world of systems dynamics together and uncover innovative ways to enhance education.

Best regards – the SIG leadership team.


George P. Richardson

George P. Richardson is Professor Emeritus of public administration, public policy, and information science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany. He earned his doctorate under Jay Forrester at MIT and is the author of Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling with DYNAMO (1981) and Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory (1991), both of which were honored with the System Dynamics Society’s Forrester Award.

George has played and sung acoustic folk music for sixty years. He has ridden a motorcycle cross-country from NY State to Seattle, the Olympic Peninsula, and down to Portland. He’s also ridden round-trip the fabled Dalton “Highway” from Calgary to Deadhorse, AK, and Prudhoe Bay, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Both trips took less than sixty years.


The Pre-College SIG Webinar Series consists of periodic online presentations on K-12 education topics for Systems Thinking and System Dynamics communities. These virtual presentations cover a wide range of topics on K-12 education and bring together academics, teachers, and students for learning and lively discussion. Our webinars aim to promote and improve skills to effectively apply systems thinking and dynamic computer simulation in K-12 education.

All webinars and recordings are free for both SDS members and the general public. Please visit SDS Pre-College Education SIG page for previous webinar recordings.

Economics in K-12 Education Roundtable

We would like to invite you to attend our free webinar entitled Economics in K-12 Education Roundtable on Thursday, May 25, at 11:00 am EST. Our panel participants will be:

Murat Gökalp – Teacher of Mathematics and Economics in DP & MYP and TOK, Shanghai Community International School, Shanghai, China
David Wheat – Emeritus Professor of Economics and SD, University of Bergen, Norway
Erda Gerçek – Senior Lecturer in Economics and Strategic Thinking at Koç University, İstanbul, Türkiye
Khalid Saeed – Professor of Economics and System Dynamics at WPI, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

We will discuss some the following questions:

  • What might be the fundamental stocks in an economy?
  • What might be the fundamental flows and flow cycles in an economy?
  • What might be the fundamental causal loops in an economy?
  • Which economic theories should be introduced, in which order?
  • Can a historical approach (starting from hunter gatherers) be used in teaching economics?
  • How can value, money, price, fiat be taught?
  • Which approach should be used when teaching economics? What are the pros and cons of each approach?
    • from micro to macro
    • from macro to micro
    • in paralel – a spiral education
  • Should modeling accounting identities be introduced? If yes, how?
  • Alternatively, Should Accounting System Dynamics be introduced? If yes, how?
  • How should interconnectedness of economy and ecology be taught?
    • circular economy, green economy, sustainability, new economy…
  • What is or should be the goal of an economic system?
  • What is or should be the function of an economic system?

We hope you will join us for this webinar.

Getting Started on the Right Foot with System Dynamics Modeling

Getting Started on the Right Foot with System Dynamics Modeling

What looks like a feedback loop but isn’t?
What looks like a system dynamics model but isn’t?

We all probably know that systems thinking word-and-arrow maps contain feedback loops and system dynamics models contain stocks and flows as well as feedback loops. But it’s not that simple.

  • It may be shocking to realize that some word-and-arrow maps aren’t “systems thinking”! Some loops aren’t “feedback loops”. Some aren’t CLDs, even though they contain loops. They may be good thinking, but they may not be “system dynamics thinking”. How can that be?
  • Some pictures we draw in STELLA or Vensim may look something like a system dynamics model but they may be misrepresentations. Some may be unintentional imposters. It’s a fact that something can be diagrammed in STELLA or Vensim but not be a “system dynamics model”! How is that possible?

This workshop is designed to be sure we are all aware of what makes a diagram reflect “systems thinking” and what makes a model a “system dynamics model”.

By the end of this workshop, we will all be better systems thinkers and “mappers”. We won’t all be able to be “modelers” (yet), but we will know what a picture has to look like to have a chance to be a good system dynamics model. We will all be stronger members of the system dynamics community.

 

Presenter: George P. Richardson

George P. Richardson is Professor Emeritus of public administration, public policy, and information science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany. He earned his doctorate under Jay Forrester at MIT and is the author of Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling with DYNAMO (1981) and Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory (1991), both of which were honored with the System Dynamics Society’s Forrester Award.

George has played and sung acoustic folk music for sixty years. He has ridden a motorcycle cross-country from NY State to Seattle, the Olympic Peninsula, and down to Portland. He’s also ridden round-trip the fabled Dalton “Highway” from Calgary to Deadhorse, AK, and Prudhoe Bay, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Both trips took less than sixty years.

Teaching Social Studies with Systems Thinking

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.


Revolutions

A number of years ago I was invited to work with school teachers incorporating systems mapping and modeling in their classes. The elementary school people wanted a model or map of “revolutions”. They were frustrated. Apparently, that was a unit in their curricula at the time, and no one would help them build one. So we spent the first day with both elementary school and high school teachers evolving together a pretty good map of stocks and flows and feedback loops in a generic view of revolutions. The second day, the high school teachers wanted us to build a simulating model of what we had done the first day. So we did, together. This presentation will retrace the work in both days. I’ll try to show how we did it, as well as what we produced.

George P. Richardson

George P. Richardson is Professor Emeritus of public administration, public policy, and information science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy at the State University of New York at Albany. He earned his doctorate under Jay Forrester at MIT and is the author of Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling with DYNAMO (1981) and Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory (1991), both of which were honored with the System Dynamics Society’s Forrester Award.
George has played and sung acoustic folk music for sixty years. He has ridden a motorcycle cross-country from NY State to Seattle, the Olympic Peninsula, and down to Portland. He’s also ridden round-trip the fabled Dalton “Highway” from Calgary to Deadhorse, AK, and Prudhoe Bay, 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Both trips took less than sixty years.


Improving Context and Content in History Classes

History is the science of behavior over time. It is, by definition, an indigenous subject of system dynamics, thus systems thinking. In this presentation, we will give primary and middle school examples of using systems thinking tools in Turkey’s War of Independence. The lessons are based on outcomes from the curriculum of the Ministry of National Education in Turkey. Systems thinking tools are embedded in the lessons to put events in the context of a time frame starting from 1300 CE with Behaviour Over Time Graphs and to deeply analyze and discuss the events using Stock-Flow Maps (conceptual Stock-Flow Diagrams).

Özgün Kurt Çetinkaya

Özgün Kurt Çetinkaya earned her Master’s Degree from Dokuz Eylul University in Izmir,Turkey on Primary School Teaching. She worked as a PYP Class Teacher for 6 years in Işıkkent Primary School. She is preparing to start a PhD program and her research interest is Systems Thinking Approach in primary years.


Visualizing History and Economics

Using Systems Thinking tools with my students allows me to visualize how my students are thinking about and processing complex issues related to history and economics. ST tools also facilitate small group conversations among students who are collaborating on solutions to social problems related to their lives. I will be presenting some of my favorite Systems Thinking related tools and lessons I have used in the classroom with students, including Behaviour Over Time Graphs, Causal Loop Diagrams, the Iceberg model, and a systems thinking mapping activity.

Brett Goble

Brett Goble Is the District Leader for Academic Assurance for CITY Center for Collaborative Learning, a non-profit organization in Tucson Arizona that operates three, small, public charter schools, including City High School, which opened in 2004 Mr. Goble is a co-founder of City High School, a school where each student is well known, honored for their unique talents and learning styles, offered challenging academics, and given opportunities to engage in authentic education through community connections. Mr. Goble served as City High School’s principal from 2015 to 2020. Prior to that, Mr. Goble taught English, history, government and economics at City High School. In 2011, Mr. Goble achieved a National Board Certification in the area of Social Studies/History for Adolescence and Young Adulthood.

Human Body Systems in K-12

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 www.jondarkow.com.

 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.

 

Focus on Climate Change

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.

Now What?

How an environmental science course was developed at IACS high school, some of the lessons used, and how the tools of system dynamics were integrated. I will quickly cover a few examples of how systems thinking and system dynamics tools were applied to other topics, especially in middle school.

Al Ticotsky

Retired middle school science teacher. Systems thinking and system dynamics modeling mentor at Carlisle Elementary School and Innovation Academy Charter School. Author/Co-Author of The Shape of Change, Now What? A Call to Action, and four other books on science education. Plans to establish a blog on the Creative Learning Exchange website that will address environmental systems, current events, K-12 systems education topics, and generally provide a platform for sharing work on systems thinking and system dynamics. His goal is to post about two entries per month and to include others’ work to build up our network, as well as keeping Now What? as current as possible..

Exploring Climate Change with System Dynamics

Climate change is largely being driven by the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. System dynamic modeling is an excellent way to represent the imbalance in the carbon cycle produced by industrializing human activities. In this presentation, I will demonstrate a simple system dynamics model I have students create and explore questions about possible interventions. I always start with this model to introduce my students to system dynamics modeling, so I use this opportunity to not only have students learn about climate change but also learn the very basics of system dynamics modeling.

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-bachelors 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 www.jondarkow.com.

 Environmental Education with Systems Thinking and the World Climate Game

An educational programme, which applied systems thinking methodology on climate change and environmental education whilst also using the simulation game “World Climate” as a tool will be presented. The programme was implemented in three parts from September to December 2021 with the participation of eighth grade students as an after-school programme. The first part was introduction of population, migration, economy and greenhouse gas emissions dynamics at both country and global levels aiming to prepare students for their roles that they will be playing in the second part. In the second part, students played the “World Climate” simulation game developed by Climate Interactive. In the third and final part of the programme, systems thinking tools were be used to see the foundational structures that create the problem.

Sena Yıldız Değirmenci earned her Master’s Degree from University of Oulu, Finland on Learning, Education and Technology. With a physics teacher background, she worked as a science teacher in Darüşşafaka Middle School. A teacher and learning specialist, her research interests are systems thinking and learning through technology. 

 

You can watch the recording here