Identifying Systems Thinking Components in the School Science Curricular Standards of Four Countries

Mei Hung Chiu*, Rachel Mamlok-Naman, Jan Apotheker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Chemistry plays an important role in developing scientific theories to describe, explain, and predict the physical world and to produce useful products for improving quality of life throughout history. To arouse student awareness of the value and importance of learning chemistry and becoming chemistry literate, we propose an application of systems thinking for the practice of chemistry education. The underlying goals of the systems thinking learning strategy proposed in this article are to help students build core knowledge of chemistry, construct interconnections of chemical concepts, understand the process- and purpose-based nature of systems thinking, and develop appropriate actions for the sustainability of the environment. The conceptual framework includes understanding system structure, complex behavior, and systems at different scales in chemistry and enhancing the interactions and impacts of these aspects, which are used to analyze the chemistry curricular standards in high schools in Israel, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United States. The results show that there is an international trend to enhance students' thinking of interconnections of concepts and relevance in chemistry, yet the degree of emphasis varies. With such an approach to promoting systems thinking, we expect students to better understand chemistry, link their knowledge and skills in chemistry to contexts, and appreciate the contribution of chemistry in sustainable development as global citizens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2814-2824
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 10


  • Applications of Chemistry
  • Standards National/State
  • Sustainability
  • Systems Thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Education


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