Systems Thinking Collection

More and more systems-related terms are emerging in the scientific literature, in curricula, and in popular media: systems thinking, systems approaches, systems analysis, systems dynamics, systems mapping, just to name a few. In an increasingly complex and interconnected world, thinking systemically can help us to understand, communicate, address, and educate about challenges we face. Systems thinking is both an approach to seeing the world in a way that makes connections and relationships more visible and improves our decision-making abilities, and a set of methods and tools. This current collection of materials includes a synthesis, exercises, and teacher guidance materials. The synthesis provides an overview of ways to think about systems and of systems thinking tools that can be useful to educators and learners in any discipline. The exercises leverage the content in the synthesis by focusing on two different systems thinking tools: a semi-quantitative modeling tool called Mental Modeler and stakeholder analysis. Students use Mental Modeler to explore the current dynamics of and links between corn and beef production in the United States and use stakeholder analysis to explore a suite of issues ranging from public health initiatives like food labeling to human rights abuses in the fisheries industry. These exercises are the initial building blocks for a broader collection currently under development.

Featured in: *Lessons in Conservation: Systems Thinking Issue

See also:
Stakeholder Analysis
A Comprehensive Simulation of the Colorado River Basin: An Interactive Exercise
Monitoring for Adaptive Management in Conservation Biology

Themes: Communicating and Teaching Science, Conservation Tools

Language: English

Region: Global

Keywords: modeling, stakeholders, tools, critical thinking

Components: 9

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Synthesis: Introduction to Systems and Systems Thinking

Author: E. Betley, E. Sterling, S. Akbas, A. Paxton, L. Frost

   

explore

Recommended Resource: Mental Modeler

This modeling software is a systems thinking tool that helps individuals and communities capture their knowledge and perform scenario analyses. We recommend instructors and learners check out the “Instruction Guide to using Mental Modeler in the Classroom” and view the videos listed under “Educational Materials” on the Mental Modeler website for an introduction to the software and the various software capabilities that are used in the exercise “Modeling Links between Corn Production and Beef Production in the United States: A Systems Thinking Exercise using Mental Modeler.”


practice

Exercise: Modeling Links between Corn Production and Beef Production in the United States: A Systems Thinking Exercise using Mental Modeler

Author: E. Betley, E. Sterling, S. Akabas, S. Gray, A. Sorensen, R. Jordan, C. Eustice

   

Exercise: Systems Thinking Collection: Stakeholder Analysis Exercise

Author: A. Paxton, L. Frost, E. Betley, S. Akabas, E. Sterling

   

teach

Presentation: Introduction to Systems and Systems Thinking

Author: E. Betley, E. Sterling, A. Paxton, L. Frost

Presentation: Systems Thinking Collection: Stakeholder Analysis Exercise

Author: A. Paxton, L. Frost, E. Betley

Teaching Notes: Introduction to Systems and Systems Thinking

Author: E. Betley, E. Sterling, S. Akabas

Solutions: Systems Thinking Using Mental Modeler: Assessment and Teaching Notes

Author: E. Betley, E. Sterling, S. Akabas, S. Gray, A. Sorensen, R. Jordan, C. Eustice

Solutions: Systems Thinking Collection: Stakeholder Analysis Exercise

Author: A. Paxton, L. Frost, E. Betley, S. Akabas, E. Sterling


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