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Modeling Dynamics Systems: Lessons for a First Course
by Diana M. Fisher
This book provides lessons for a year-long introductory course in System Dynamics modeling. It is built as a hands-on curriculum where students build models the entire year, gaining skill over time. The lessons can be used for a core curriculum or for independent study.
The hardcopy of the text is the teacher’s solution manual. The student lessons and all of the solution models are available for download. One book provides a license for one teacher to photocopy the materials for all of his/her students each year. (Available in English and Japanese.)
- Modeling Dynamic Systems, Third Edition: Publisher: isee systems (www.iseesystems.com/store/books)
- Modeling Book Table of Contents
- Sample Lesson – Population Tutorial 1
Lessons in Mathematics: A Dynamic Approach
by Diana M. Fisher
This book provides teachers of mathematics supplemental lessons that can be used to enhance algebra, pre-calculus, and calculus classes. Students build models to demonstrate linear, exponential, quadratic, convergent, logistic, and sinusoidal change over time. They then explore the models to determine solutions to real-world problems.
Many of the examples are applicable to science classes. Case studies, like the spread of contagious diseases or how lead accumulates in the human body are also provided to give students an opportunity to work with more rigorous applications. One book provides a license for one teacher to photocopy the materials for all of his/her students each year. (Available in English and Spanish.)
- Lessons in Mathematics: A Dynamic Approach: Publisher: isee systems (www.iseesystems.com/store/books)
- Math Book Table of Contents
- Sample Student Lesson – Exponential Models 1
System Dynamics Modeling: A Different Way to Think
by Diana M. Fisher
This brochure provides an overview of system dynamics modeling as well as background information on educator and trainer Diana Fisher. Download the brochure (500 kb, PDF format)
Stella Online Access and Beginning Lessons in Different Disciplines
Stella Online (free, web-based software)
In February 2017, isee systems, inc. released a free, web-based version of the Stella System Dynamics (SD) modeling software called Stella Online. The beauty of this release was that instructors who wanted to start using SD in their classes would have a way to get started without the initial expense of purchasing software. Stella has long been the preferred SD modeling software for pre-college students because it is designed with education in mind and has a relatively simple interface for model-building. Another important feature of Stella Online is that it is web-based, meaning it can be used on Chromebooks, tablets, laptops, desktops, and even smartphones (as a last resort). This means any school with computer-based technology that is available for student use can be used as the platform for SD modeling. Thank you isee systems!!
To start using the Stella Online software the user must first create a (free) user account with isee systems. To do that, in a browser, go to publish.iseesystems.com
In the upper right-hand corner you will see a “Sign-In” button. Click on that button and then click on the “Sign Up” button.
Now follow the directions in the following document to get a small introduction to the software.
Some Beginning Lessons to use with Students (or just practice for yourself if you are new to SD)
The following lessons are intended for students to use as their first or second SD modeling lesson with Stella Online (specifically).
I ALWAYS start with a lesson that requires students to build a model showing linear growth. Although the model structure (and the concept) is extremely simple, it provides an opportunity for students to learn how to navigate the software, so that later SD modeling lessons can focus on the concepts you are trying to reinforce with the modeling activity (i.e., using the software is then a background issue). Note: if the interval between modeling lessons is more than a few weeks students will often forget some of the software navigation. After a few lessons, they recall the navigation well enough that they do not need to be reminded.
- (Linear Behavior) Water in a Lake.pdf
- (Exponential Behavior) BacteriaGrowth.pdf
- (Parabolic Behavior) TossingABall.pdf
Additional Online Resources
Stella (commercial software)
STELLA is a visual, icon-based modeling software that is easy to use. It is a valuable tool to aid students in constructing models and analyzing system behavior. Due to its visual nature it makes modeling accessible to a broad spectrum of students. It has enhanced communication features that support student presentations of their work.
• Publisher: isee systems (www.iseesystems.com)
The Creative Learning Exchange
The Creative Learning Exchange is a resource for K-12 teachers trying to get started incorporating Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling in their curriculum. They sponsor a conference (Systems Thinking and Dynamic Modeling Conference) biannually. See especially books for middle school teachers: “The Shape of Change” by Rob Quaden, Alan Ticotsky and Debra Lyneis, “The Shape of Change: Stocks and Flows” by Rob Quaden, Alan Ticotsky and Debra Lyneis, and “Modeling Mysteries” by Anne LaVigne.