Teach the Earth > Complex Systems > Workshop 2010 > Program

Workshop Program

Note: This workshop has already taken place. Presentations and workshop materials are linked in the program below.
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Sunday, April 18


5:00 PM Welcome and Opening Reception Great Hall in Severance - Carleton College

Watch video of the presentation (MP4 Video 935.6MB Aug1 17) (The video will be most useful if you have the PowerPoint file open to follow along.)

Monday, April 19


Courtesy breakfast at hotel

8:45-9:00 Plan for the Day Alumni Guest House Meeting Room - Carleton College

9:00-12:30 Goals, Challenges, and Cognitive Underpinnings of Teaching Complex Systems

Watch video of the presentation (MP4 Video 1742.5MB Aug1 17) (The video will be most useful if you have the PowerPoint file open to follow along.)
  • 10:45-11:00 Break
  • 11:00-12:00 Complex Systems Theory (PowerPoint 23.7MB Apr20 10) - Lynn Fichter, James Madison University
    • Discussant: Catherine Gautier, UCSB
Watch video of the presentation (MP4 Video 1004.6MB Aug1 17) (The video will be most useful if you have the PowerPoint file open to follow along.)

Presentation is also available in PDF format: Complex Systems (Acrobat (PDF) 3.1MB May5 10)

    The human mind is built to think in terms of narratives, or stories. Chaos/complex systems theories are such narratives. They are not a series of unconnected or disconnected equations or models. If we present our students with a "complex system" but do not systematically develop the narrative that holds it together or makes sense of how all the pieces are interrelated, their ability to understand it will be hindered.

    There are impediments to incorporating these ideas in the discipline and in the classroom. One impediment is the dominance of linear/equilibrium thinking and training in our schools. Teaching chaos/complex systems principles requires students be familiar with mathematical principles, techniques, and properties not yet systematically taught. A second impediment is the inconsistent and ambiguous use of the terms "complex" and "system." A third impediment is the domination of biological evolutionary theory as the only systematic mechanism for evolutionary change. Finally, a fourth impediment is the absence of rubrics for introducing chaos/complex systems theories and modeling techniques in class rooms. We need to address all these to construct a comprehensive, integrated, universal theoretical framework for evolutionary processes in the universe.

  • 12:00-12:30 Individual reflection and group discussion

12:30-2:00 Lunch Burton Dining Hall - Carleton College

2:00-5:30 Teaching Complex Systems with Models

  • 2:00-3:30 Insights from models of complex systems in various disciplines - panel discussion
  • 3:30-4:30 Model demonstration session (includes break)
    • Catherine Gautier: SBDART: an accurate radiative transfer model to teach about climate change
    • Steve Hurst: Environmental model building using STELLA and Vensim
    • Kirsten Menking: Using STELLA to Model Complex Systems
    • Noelle Selin: Using Models in International Science-Policy Contexts: Screening Chemicals for Long-Range Transport
    • Cindy Shellito: Exploring the complexities of climate dynamics using global climate models
    • Nikki Strong: Rivers as complex systems
    • Vanessa Svihla: Complex models that foster and reveal learning
  • 4:30-5:30 Teaching with models:
    • What have we learned?
    • What do we need that we don't have?
    • How would we get it?
  • 5:30-6:00 Plan for tomorrow, reflection and road check

7:00 Dinner Boonie's Bar & Grill of Millersburg

*Vans will leave from the Country Inn at 6:45pm


Tuesday, April 20


Courtesy breakfast at hotel

8:45-9:00 Reflections from Road Check Alumni Guest House Meeting Room

9:00 -12:30 Teaching Complex Systems with Visualizations

12:30-1:30 Lunch with Working Group Burton Dining Hall - Carleton College

1:30-4:00 Working Groups Work Time

Working group pages (accessible only to workshop participants)

4:00-5:00 Working Group Report Out and Group Discussion

Public webpages arising from working groups:

5:00-6:00 Personal Reflection, Table Discussion, Whole Group Synthesis

7:00 Dinner Out on the Town

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