Friday, May 28, 1999
Systems thinking integrated into K-8 curriculum
Teachers Rob Quaden and Alan Ticotsky, mentors for the systems program in the Carlisle Public School, provided the May 18 school committee meeting with a comprehensive presentation on the integration of systems thinking in the K-8 curriculum. Quaden explained this approach is integrated in a developmentally appropriate way as children become engaged in the learning methods.
The mentors see themselves as providing the techniques of system dynamics within an interdisciplinary approach and mentoring other teachers. Beginning with the teachers' ideas, they provide ways to enhance the teaching approach in the classroom. They feel the interdisciplinary approach in system dynamics is more natural with its story webs, graphs, and causal loops. Ticotsky explained that graphing in literature is a good way for students to better understand what they are reading.
Quaden expressed appreciation for the vision of the man behind the Waters Foundation Project. The grant money which the school receives enables the teachers to do what they do best and essentially means that the school has a community of learners.
Quaden commented that there is a wide range of math students in the eighth grade. Some students are able to learn by the more traditional approach to math but others are helped by the causal nature of system dynamics. The abstraction is less when relationships are used. The tools within system dynamics force children to make connections between language and abstract concepts. This approach links itself quite naturally in math and science to other disciplines.
Chair David Dockterman concluded, "As a committee, we are pleased. It is a more lasting way to see the world. It is all about relationships: from molecular to human and animal."
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito