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Teachers’ barriers to introducing system dynamics in K-12 STEM curriculum



Systems thinking tools and system dynamics simulations can provide a valuable means for helping students think their way around complex environmental problems. Using the results of a Web-based survey and face-to-face focus group this study was designed to advance our understanding of teacher adoption of systems thinking and system dynamics modeling by documenting the perspective of a large group in an urban context tasked with a curriculum that included system dynamics simulations. Teachers identified the barriers to implementing simulation activities as both computer access and their own understanding. A test of teachers’ understanding of systems principles reveals inconsistencies in the way they interpret models, based on their previous understanding of the system. Strategies for addressing these issues include professional development that targets teacher self-efficacy, understanding of systems and system models, as well as the provision of materials for model-building and simulation use. Copyright © 2013 System Dynamics Society

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