Playing with Systems

Systems Thinking and Science Literacy

A driving goal of the Science Literacy Initiative at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is to effectively prepare students for successful careers and a lifetime of science-informed decisions. Achieving this goal will require students to develop systems thinking skills as habits of mind.

But what exactly is systems thinking?

And how can students develop these skills in ways that are fun and rewarding?

neural net

What is systems thinking?


Systems thinking is an approach to problem solving and understanding the world. It includes the ability to...

  • Analyze problems within broader contexts
  • Consider multiple cause-and-effect relationships
  • Understand that near-term actions have long-term consequences and possible side effects
  • Conceptualize the nature of change over time

The Waters Center for Systems Thinking has created a set of cards laying out 14 different habits of a systems thinker. Practicing systems thinking habits can change the way you see the world and influence the actions or decisions you make.

How can students grow their systems thinking skills?

We created this website for teachers and students to explore some of the fun and rewarding ways to develop systems thinking skills. Check out the links to learn more!