This project (2020-1-SE01-KA203-077872) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Systems Thinking in Science Education

Admission Requirements
Holder of a Bachelor’s degree in science or engineering

Learning Outcomes

Following the successful completion of the course the following main learning outcomes are expected:


  • Describe the relationships between system thinking, science education, and sustainable development
  • Delineate the characteristics and functions of the main sectors of chemistry which are closely connected with systems thinking
  • Outline the main processes for assessing systems thinking in science-related subjects
  • Describe the main features of informal science education via systems thinking
  • Know the key tools needed for developing systems thinking-based teaching in science-related courses


  • Compare the main theoretical perspectives of systems thinking based on their usefulness in science education
  • Design teaching learning sequences to promote students’ system thinking in science
  • Analyze the different perspectives of an environmental and a socioscientific issue in order to incorporate it into a teaching learning sequence to promote students’ system thinking
  • Apply inquiry-based teaching model in a science classroom to promote students’ system thinking
  • Design assessment tools to evaluate students’ system thinking in science-related subjects


  • Employ knowledge from different disciplines in order to understand the diverse aspects of a complex issue
  • Decision making via collecting, analyzing and assessing evidence from diverse sources or/and disciplines
  • Adapt in novel societal situations via following the principles of the three pillars of sustainable development
  • Address  a complex problem/issue/situation via a systems thinking approach


The course contents are summarized as follows:

  • Various theoretical perspectives of systems thinking in science
  • Systems thinking in the school science/chemistry curricula
  • Systems thinking and educational emerging technologies in science course
  • Systems thinking for Chemically and Environmentally Literate Citizens
  • Systems-thinking and Science-related Outreach Programs
  • Systems thinking and graphical representations in science
  • Project-and problem-based learning for systems thinking in science
  • Systems thinking assessment in science-related subjects

  • Blatti, J. L., Garcia, J., Cave, D., Monge, F., Cuccinello, A., Portillo, J., ... & Schwebel, F. (2019). Systems thinking in science education and outreach toward a sustainable future. Journal of chemical education, 96(12), 2852-2862.
  • Fowler, W. C., Ting, J. M., Meng, S., Li, L., & Tirrell, M. V. (2019). Integrating systems thinking into teaching emerging technologies. Journal of Chemical Education, 96(12), 2805-2813.
  • Nagarajan, S., & Overton, T. (2019). Promoting systems thinking using project-and problem-based learning. Journal of Chemical Education, 96(12), 2901-2909.
  • Talanquer, V. (2019). Some insights into assessing chemical systems thinking. Journal of Chemical Education, 96(12), 2918-2925
  • Vachliotis, T., Salta, K., & Tzougraki, C. (2014). Meaningful understanding and systems thinking in organic chemistry: Validating measurement and exploring relationships. Research in Science Education, 44, 239-266.
  • Vachliotis, T., Salta, K., Vasiliou, P., & Tzougraki, C. (2011). Exploring novel tools for assessing high school students’ meaningful understanding of organic reactions. Journal of Chemical Education, 88(3), 337-345.
  • Vachliotis, T., Salta, K., & Tzougraki, C. (2021). Developing basic systems thinking skills for deeper understanding of chemistry concepts in high school students. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 41, 100881.

Teaching Methodology
  • Lectures
  • Seminars and Tutorials
  • Independent Study
  • Problem–based Learning

ECTS Credits
7.5 ECTS Credits

II semester (STEM)

Examination methodology
Papers’ writing and oral defence

This course brings out the perspectives of the systems thinking approach in all aspects of science education including teaching, learning and assessment.

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