Course Description

System Dynamics (SD) modeling is a method of representing systemic problems by using icons to represent elements of the system and arrows to represent the interconnection of the elements. The visual nature of the software allows a broad audience of students access to the analysis of complex systems behavior and an opportunity to explain the behavior. Teachers of math and science will learn to create small models and design lessons to infuse this modeling approach into their classes.

Course Outline

Week 1: Communication Tools

Week 2: Analyzing Simple Generic Behavior Characteristics

Week 3: Building Simple Models

Week 4: Learning About Feedback and the Importance of Unit Consistency

Week 5: Building Drug Models

Week 6: Building an Epidemic Model

Week 7: Building Models that Produce Oscillations

Week 8: Building Soda Bottle Water Rocket Models and other Models for Trajectories

Week 9: Constructing Your First Model-Building Lessons

Week 10: National Curriculum Standards and Creating Assessments

Learner Outcomes

Participants will:

  • Become knowledgeable about the System Dynamics (SD) modeling method.
  • Experience the advantages SD provides to enhance student analysis of dynamic problems that involve core concepts in math and science classes
  • Gain an understanding of some appropriate places within the math and science curriculum to infuse modeling and simulation activities
  • Learn to differentiate the behavior patterns of simple and moderate level stock/flow models based upon their rate of change and accumulation configurations (that is, gain a conceptual understanding of introductory calculus)
  • Become knowledgeable about the important part feedback analysis plays in analyzing the behavior of dynamic problems that produce non-linear complex behavior
  • Learn to design student model-building activities appropriate for their math and/or science classes
  • Learn how to assess student model-building activitiesEnhance their learning by participating in a community of learners


It is expected that the participant will be a current or future teacher of mathematics or science at the high school, community college, or undergraduate university level. Consequently, participants should have:

  • Comfort with the math and/or science content of the course being taught by the participant (within which model-building activities will be added)
  • An interest in expanding the hands-on experiences of the participants' students
  • An interest in learning the value that System Dynamics modeling can bring to the learning environment.
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