Abstract for: A Pilot Project to Teach the Characteristics of Complex Systems

This poster session will describe the progress of a pilot project initiated by Professor Jay Forrester through the Creative Learning Exchange. The project goal is to create online curriculum materials for K-12 students and interested adults that will illustrate the characteristics of complex systems: 1. Cause and effect are not closely related in time or space 2. Action is often ineffective due to application of low-leverage policies (treating the symptoms, not the problem) 3. High-leverage policies are difficult to apply correctly 4. Cause of problems is within the system 5. Collapsing goals results in a downward spiral 6. Conflicts arise between short-term and long-term goals 7. Burdens are shifted to the intervener This initial project addresses ”The cause of problems is within the system” through the creation of a family of models that share the generic 2nd order negative feedback loop that generates oscillation. Students will encounter these models in various formats and subject areas. Through repeated exposure to these models and experimentation with various non-oscillating test inputs, they will recognize that the perceived problematic behavior exhibited is a consequence of the internal system structure.