Abstract for:Building Future System Dynamicists by Focusing on the Next Generation in K-12

What if we achieved our dreams of embedding system dynamics education in K-12 schools? What would these schools look like and how would a rising generation of young people think differently about the world, policies, social ills, and their communities as a result? For years, there have been numerous calls to teach system dynamics to young people in schools (e.g., Forrester, 1992, 1996, 2007; Fisher 2007, 2011) for a variety of reasons, including the future viability of the field. Although there are pockets of success, there are also numerous examples of fragmented or superficial implementations of systems thinking that have variable success and sustainability.

The aims of this presentation are to challenge ourselves as a field to think reflectively about our roles and responsibilities for fostering system dynamics education in the next generation. Key implementation and scale up challenges to build pipelines of system dynamicists are outlined including, 1) remembering our “why” and the opportunity that lies within K-12 education; 2) speaking the language and goals of the field of practice in education; and 3) conducting rigorous RCTs that connect system dynamics skills to desired cognitive developmental outcomes in education. This presentation concludes with examples of promising practices of growing communities of practice and a call for each of us to consider our roles in this work.