Workshop on Teaching About Complex Systems

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to let you know about two opportunities with application deadlines of November 22:

- Teaching about Complex Systems Using STELLA- a one day workshop in association with the AGU meeting

- Visiting Workshops offered by the Building Strong Geoscience Departments project.

Details and links are below.  I hope that these are of interest.


1. The Cutting Edge program presents a one-day workshop on Teaching About Complex Systems Using the STELLA Modeling Software in conjunction with the fall AGU meeting. Numerical modeling is a widely used tool in the Earth and Environmental Sciences, but can be intimidating for students with limited mathematical backgrounds and/or math anxiety. In this workshop, we present STELLA, an iconographic box modeling software package particularly beneficial in teaching basic modeling skills and in fostering student understanding of complex systems. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to work with existing models of phenomena such as radioactive decay, climate change, and thermohaline circulation, and will also work with other participants to generate new models to meet their own course needs. Discussions will cover such topics as the pedagogical value of teaching students how to model, and strengths and limitations of the STELLA software.

This workshop is designed for instructors who are interested in incorporating numerical modeling exercises into their courses in order to:

- Facilitate student understanding of complex systems

- Develop students’ quantitative and problem solving skills

- Develop students’ abilities to apply the scientific method

The registration deadline has been extended to November 22, 2010. For more information, please contact Kirsten Menking (kimenking at or David Bice (dbice at

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