Experiencing Systemic Thinking
This activity is intended to assist students in experiencing the nature of social and natural systems through observing and commenting upon a natural system and a social system.
- Experience the power and utility of systemic thinking in understanding both natural and social systems - including concepts such as:interdependence, multiple causation, the importance of context, etc.
- To draw images of the observed systems.
- To explain the similarities and differences among the natural and social systems observed.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
In small groups students will go outside and observe a natural system such as a garden, yard, grove of trees, river, patch of prairie, etc. They will answer a series of questions on a form distributed in class.
Then they will observe a social system such as a club meeting, a group of people at dinner, a classroom of students, a meeting, a sports contest with spectators, an individual alone or a couple, etc.; again making notes in answer to questions provided.
The class will then come back together to process the experience, comparing and contrasting the two types of systems and looking for themes such as: interdependence, multiple causation of problems, context of observations, energy flows and communication patterns, system goals and how system is organized to meet its goals, etc.