The Systems Thinking Playbook: Exercises to Stretch and Build Learning and Systems Thinking Capabilities

by Linda Booth Sweeney Ed.D., Dennis MeadowsLinda Booth Sweeney Ed.D.
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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781603582582
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Publication date: 04/30/2010
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,283,214
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Linda Booth Sweeney, Ed. D., is an educator, researcher and writer dedicated to helping people of all ages integrate an understanding of complex, living systems into learning, decision making and design.  She has worked with Outward Bound, MIT's Sloan School of Management, and Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development (SEED). She is the author of The Systems Thinking Playbook; When a Butterfly Sneezes: A Guide for Helping Children Explore Interconnections in Our World Through Favorite Stories; Connected Wisdom: Living Stories about Living Systems; and numerous academic journals and newsletters. Sweeney lives outside Boston, Massachusetts. For more information see her blog, Talking about Systems (


Dennis Meadows is emeritus professor of systems policy and social science research at the University of New Hampshire, where he was also director of the Institute for Policy and Social Science Research. In 2009 he received the Japan Prize for his contributions to world peace and sustainable development. He has authored ten books and numerous educational games, which have been translated into more than 15 languages for use around the world. He earned his Ph.D. in Management from MIT, where he previously served on the faculty, and has received four honorary doctorates for his contributions to environmental education.

Table of Contents

Guiding Ideas 1

The Ways of A Systems Thinker

The Role of Games in Teaching Systems Thinking

Design Consideration

Creating an Environment for Learning

Degree of Physical Challenge

Framing Techniques: Ways to introduce Learning Exercises

Going for the insights: Debriefing Tips

Selecting Exercises

Summary Matrix of Games 12


Mind Grooving 15

Exercise I Color, Furniture, Flower

Exercise II Everything But "Sleep"

Exercise III Oak, Joke, Croak

Arms Crossed 22

Circles in the Air 25

Thumb Wrestling 30

Chevreul's Pendulum 34

Warped Juggle 38

Toothpick Teaser 45

Five Easy Pieces 50

Community Maze 54

Teeter Totter 61

Hands Down 68

Web of Life 75

Moon Ball 83

Paper Tear 91

Belief Release 96

Balancing Tubes 103

Touch Base 109

Squaring the Circle 114

1-2-3 GO! 120

Dog Biscuits & See Saws 125

Frames 132

Postcard Stories 146

Paper Fold 158

Monologue/Dialogue 170

Living Loops 179

Harvest 196

Triangles 205

Avalanche 215

Space for Living 227

Group Juggle 237

About the Co-Authors and Illustrator 252

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