Use Systems Thinking to Ponder Water Issues and Water Education

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Congregate on Twitter at: 

#groundwaterpumping, #systemsthinking

At Arizona Project WET, we're beginning to explore the methods of Systems Thinking and how we might model the use of these in classroom instruction. Drawing on the Waters Foundation's Systems Thinking in Schools, we feel that Systems Thinking resonates with integrated STEM instruction because it helps you recognize and analyze how different components work together – like the components of the groundwater system, or the interconnectedness of human activities and water availability and quality. We expect that, by modeling the use of Systems Thinking during professional development, we can provide educators with tools that they can use in turn to help students learn to think critically and to solve problems effectively. This is the first in a series of BLOG posts through which we will learn Systems Thinking by using the tools to explore a very important groundwater issue. I anticipate that in each post I will be able to invite participants to use a specific Systems Thinking habit or strategy to examine the issue at hand. As participants, I hope that you will comment, sharing your thinking process and your conclusions relative to the challenge. In each subsequent post, I'll share my thinking on the challenge, then offer a follow-up challenge. The first challenge is to become familiar with the situation. Please read the article, “Investors Refloating Water Sales Proposal“ at Then employ the habit of seeking to understand the big picture.Habit: Big Picture

  • What IS the big picture here?
  • What is the proper balance between the big picture and important details?
  • What time frame should be considered when examining this system?
  • What are the areas of influence, the areas of concern, and where do they overlap?
  • If you were to ask your students to play the role of Judge in this legal case, what need-to-know questions would you expect (or hope) your students would ask before passing judgment?

This is an exploratory learning experience for me. I expect it to be fast-paced – a new post each day - and to last about two weeks. Let's see how it goes! Are you in?

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