Systems Thinking is one of the best ways to help students understand and navigate a complex world, yet it isn’t widely taught or used in schools. Willow has pioneered the adoption of Systems Thinking in elementary and middle school. Our students regularly engage in interdisciplinary projects that challenge them to analyze issues fully, recognize interdependencies between different systems, make accurate predictions, and arrive at thoughtful solutions. This way of thinking prepares them to be capable problem solvers and effective citizens who know how to create positive change in the world.
Here’s how Willow students practice Systems Thinking in our classrooms:
- Grade 5 students study the Agricultural Revolution, analyze its impact, and propose their own creative, innovative solutions that would have helped lessen the revolution’s impact on the environment.
- Grade 6 students create Systems Thinking maps during their in-depth study of the American Dust Bowl. The project deepens their understanding of the interdependent relationships among ecosystems during this period of history.
- Grade 8 students apply Systems Thinking to their analysis and understanding of slavery in Colonial America using the “Iceberg Model.”
- Grade 3 and 5 students continued to practice systems thinking in their social studies lessons during distance learning.