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 intermediate size models and design lessons to infuse this modeling approach into their classes. This course is intended to provide a continuation of instruction for teachers who want to learn more about the System Dynamics (SD) modeling method so they can provide intermediate level model-building activities for their students to reinforce core content. The SD modeling method has been successfully used with students at the levels specified above, for over 20 years. Teachers will build models dealing with populations and renewable/non-renewable resources, predator/prey interactions, keystone species interactions, tree harvesting, time of death, etc. and the feedback processes involved in this study.

Course Outline

  • Session 1:  Review of Digital Communication Tools and Review of Course 1
  • Session 2:  Some Scenarios from the “Shape of Change” Book
  • Session 3:  Building Population Models
  • Session 4:  Introduction Dimensionless Multiplier Components
  • Session 5:  Keystone Species and More About Feedback
  • Session 6:  Euler’s Method
  • Session 7:  How Differential Equations Relate to System Dynamics Models
  • Session 8:  Three Model-Building Lesson Structures
  • Session 9:  Constructing Another (3rd) Model-Building Lesson
  • Session 10:  Creating Assessments for Model-Building Lessons, Viewing the Design of a Year-Long Modeling Course for Students; Using Story-Telling feature of Stella

Learner Outcomes

During this course, participants will (at a more intermediate level):
  • Increase their knowledge about the System Dynamics (SD) modeling method. (uses technology to enhance learning)
  • Experience the advantages SD provides to enhance student analysis of dynamic problems that involve core concepts in math and science classes. (The SD method is intended to inform policymaking decisions and provide an opportunity to determine if the policy could make a difference in the problem solution.)
  • Gain an understanding of some appropriate places within the math and science curriculum to infuse modeling and simulation activities. (National educational standards in math and science recommend more model-building, active learning experiences for students.)
  • Learn to differentiate the behavior patterns of intermediate level stock/flow models based upon their rate of change and accumulation configurations; that is, gain a conceptual understanding of introductory calculus. (Participants will learn to provide alternate ways for their students to understand core math and/or science concepts, thereby making the concepts available to a broader range of students - so include more diverse student populations.)
  • Become knowledgeable about the important part feedback analysis plays in analyzing the behavior of dynamic problems that produce non-linear complex behavior. (Participants will work with real-world applications that are appropriate for their classrooms, thereby providing more realistic applications of their content for their students)
  • Learn to design student model-building activities appropriate for their math and/or science classes. (Participants will learn to use technology to enhance student learning)
  • Learn how to assess student model-building activities (Participants will demonstrate their knowledge of content and student populations and their classroom environments to design appropriate assessments for their student)
  • Enhance their learning by participating in a community of learners.(Participants will experience the value of team communication in model-building and are expected to provide team model-building experiences for their students)


It is expected that the participant will be a current or future teacher at the high school, community college, or undergraduate university level.


EDMA 5818 "System Dynamics Modeling: Basic Models" or:

  • Experience building small System Dynamics (SD) models (especially containing exponential structure)
  • The ability to include appropriate, consistent units in an SD model
  • The ability to recognize and explain reinforcing and balancing feedback loops in an SD model.
Thank you for your interest in this course. No offerings are available at this time.
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