Systems Science Friday Noon Seminar Series

PreK-12 Students Have Learned to Build Systems Models to Analyze the Dynamics of Systems, Including Non-linear Behavior



Download (453.7 MB)

Download Captions (85 KB)


Media is loading




Analysis of complex systems is woefully missing from pre-college education, currently, and that analysis is essential for anyone who wants to have a chance to understand the myriad complex systems in the world around us. A list of systems thinking and system dynamics concepts that have been used in selected classrooms at various levels of pre-college education in the US for over 30 years will be presented with some resources that work for primary, middle, and high school students. Systems thinking and system dynamics analysis have been used in science, math, social science, economics, health, language arts, technology ... classes at the pre-college level. An example of a system dynamics model used for a decade in some second year algebra classes will be shown. Some school systems in Turkey, Italy, and South Korea are beginning systemic efforts to infuse systems thinking and system dynamics modeling throughout their K-12 educational systems. It is time to update our curriculum in the US.

Biographical Information

Dr. Fisher is the recipient of the System Dynamics Society Lifetime Achievement award, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, and first place recipient of Intel’s Innovation in Teaching Award. She taught System Dynamics (SD) modeling, both as part of her secondary school algebra, pre-calculus, and calculus classes, and in a year-long secondary school SD modeling course for over 20 years. She taught Environmental Math Modeling using System Dynamics in the Environmental Science Department to undergraduates at Portland State University. Dr. Fisher has provided System Dynamics modeling workshops for math and science teachers sponsored by NASA, and was the PI on two NSF projects where she (and colleagues) taught SD modeling lessons for math, science, and social science teachers. She has designed a sequence of 3 online courses for math and science instructors who want to learn to create system dynamics models. Her website: shows examples of some of the projects completed by her secondary school students and contains other resources for teachers. Dr. Fisher has published two books in System Dynamics: Lessons in Mathematics: A Dynamic Approach (©2017) and Modeling Dynamic Systems: Lessons for a First Course 3rd Edition (© 2017). She has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in System Science from Portland State University.


System analysis, Mathematical models, Computer science, Computer-assisted instruction, Science -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Mathematics -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Critical thinking, Constructivism (Education), Thought and thinking -- Study and teaching, Change -- Study and teaching


Systems Science

Persistent Identifier


© Copyright the author(s)

This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

The purpose of this statement is to help the public understand how this Item may be used. When there is a (non-standard) License or contract that governs re-use of the associated Item, this statement only summarizes the effects of some of its terms. It is not a License, and should not be used to license your Work. To license your own Work, use a License offered at

PreK-12 Students Have Learned to Build Systems Models to Analyze the Dynamics of Systems, Including Non-linear Behavior