Abstract for: Effectiveness of SD/ILE (System Dynamics base Interactive Learning Environment) as an interdisciplinary educational tool

Systems thinking is a methodology used to explore and understand the interrelationships within complex systems. One of the key concepts in systems thinking are the feedback loops. This paper aims to assess the effectiveness of an SD/ILE (System Dynamics-based Interactive Learning Environment) as an interdisciplinary educational tool for students, to help them develop systems thinking skills and build lateral understanding on feedback loop processes. While the concept of feedback loops is far-reaching and present in many disciplines as well as day-to-day life, this particular ILE references the carbon cycle as a complex system. In this study we chose to develop a lesson about “Carbon Cycle” for two reasons: first, it is part of the US high-school school biology curriculum, and second, due to the current environmental crisis, it is important to learn about climate feedbacks and to provide a real-world context. This is an empirical research project based on observation of students learning outcomes. During the experiment, students are provided with guidelines, the ILE and challenges to complete both individually and in teams under their teacher’s supervision. The session will take place in a US high-school biology class. There will be further evaluation on students understanding and performance based on collected data from the experimental session.