Welcome! Here you’ll find a host of resources –- teacher’s guides, on-line learning, group games, and more — that will help you use my books in your classroom, library or at home. If you’re a parent or a librarian, don’t hesitate to explore the “teacher’s guides.” They can be a treasure trove for anyone looking to design learning opportunities for K-12 students. For hands-on activities, see the Workbench.
If you’re interested in a presentation, school visit, Skype visit or in-school residency, please contact me here.
When The Wind Blows: A Teacher’s Guide
This classroom guide, designed for K-3 students, offers activities to help teachers integrate When the Wind Blows into English language arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies curricula. All activities were created in conjunction with relevant content standards in ELA, math, science, social studies, art, and drama. And systems thinking and Biomimcry as well!
Connected Wisdom Teacher’s Guide
The Connected Wisdom Teacher’s Guide is designed to guide educators through lesson plans that will explain living systems principles for their students. The guide was created with students aged10-18 in mind, but the lessons can be adapted for younger students.
The The Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures Playkit
The Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures Playkit and its companion curriculum guide help students think deliberately about living systems in a farm setting, encouraging them to see the people, land and wildlife in and around farms, not as a set of interesting but disconnected parts, but as components of vibrant, living systems. Through the discussions, interactive system mapping activities, and games, students explore the hidden interconnections and dynamics within a sustainable chicken farm. Concepts such as feedback loops, time horizon, stocks/flows and waste=food are illustrated through a study of the relationships between elements of a farm pasture: chickens, cows, soil, plants, manure, etc.
Learning to Connect the Dots (Solutions Journal)
How can adults nurture children’s capacity to “connect the dots” through everyday conversations and activities? How can educators build an environment that leads children to see the patterns that make a difference? In this article, explore how “thinking about systems” can help young people pay attention to the interrelationships, patterns, and dynamics that surround us. In cultivating systems literacy, you build upon this natural understanding to help promote this integrated way of thinking for the children in your life.
Bringing Back The Wolves (Highlights Magazine for Children)
Written for young readers (ages 9-12), this article explores the impact of removing a top predator from an ecosystem. To learn more about how to use this article in the context of a ecosystem unit in a classroom, go here.
“It All Comes Down to Dirt” Learning While Playing with the Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures Playkit, by L. Booth Sweeney. Creative Exchange Newsletter, Summer, 2011. Download PDF
“Teaching about Living Systems on the Farm: Remembering What We Already Know” by L. Booth Sweeney. Farm-Based Education Association newsletter(winter/Spring 2009). Download Newsletter
“How is This Similar to That?“ The skill of recognizing parallel dynamics structures on center stage, by L. Booth Sweeney. Creative Exchange Newsletter, 2005 Download PDF
PBS Systems Literacy Collection: I’m thrilled to partner with PBS Learning Media to make systems literacy (or “thinking about systems”) more accessible to broader audiences. As you’ll see, the collection includes classroom-ready resources for all grade bands, a self-paced module for middle/high school students, and a professional development module for teachers. You can see a K-2 example here. There are two fun, short videos (see below) of me doing my best to imitate Bill Nye the Science Guy, but with curly hair.
Here are two short videos:
What are systems? I look at what is a system and what’s not, what systems do, and why understanding systems is important. Systems and systems models are a cross-cutting concept in the Next Generation Science Standards
Understanding Causal Loops: In this video, I show how to use diagrams to help analyze systems behavior. The example I use is a social studies or engineering topic about how building new roads to relieve traffic congestion can have unexpected consequences.
Here are the two learning modules:
Teaching About Systems: a STEM professional development module for teachers guides you through the basics of systems thinking and shows how you can integrate systems literacy across the grades and across disciplines, including STEM and social studies.
Understanding Dynamic Systems: A self-paced interactive lesson guides students through the process of identifying and analyzing a system. Students cover systems thinking basics and then examine the dynamics of soil health through videos and online exercises that help them make the system visible using tools such as causal loop diagrams.
If you want to learn more, you can view a free webinar I offered –- Becoming Systems Literate — here.
You can also join me on the SYSTEMS LITERACY Google hangout, sponsored by WGBH: The hangout brings together educators, parents, administrators and others who are all looking to foster “understanding of complex systems” in K-12 education and beyond. Come join the conversation!
Learning about Living Systems (ages 10-18)
I worked with SEED (Schlumberger Excellence in Education Development) to develop materials, curriculum and activities designed to foster understanding of “living systems” in the context of learning about science, engineering and technology. The 12 “Living Systems Principles” illustrated in Connected Wisdom are used as an organizing framework. To explore the many examples of living systems throughout the SEED website, click here.
“Healthy Chickens, Healthy Pastures: Making Connections at Drumlin Farm and Beyond” is a game designed to help people (ages 8-88) to “connect the dots” and think deliberately about living systems in a farm setting. The playkit includes a game, wikki stiks, systems glossary, systems maps, and more. A free curriculum guide is available here and you can download an article about the play kit here and here. If you are interested in a customized playkit, please contact me.
CITY FARM: I worked with WGBH to integrate systems concepts into an interactive farm game for middle school students. Players learn about sustainable practices by growing crops, protecting them against unforeseen problems, and determining how best to conserve resources. The game is so realistic. Check it out!