Linda Booth Sweeney


“We must put vastly more emphasis on educating for certain intellectual abilities. We must educate people to have long-range perspectives, to think in terms of many variables related to each other as probabilities rather than certainties and related as both cause and effect to each other...We must educate so people can cope efficiently, imaginatively, and perceptively with information overload.”

Donald L. Michael (1968)
The Unprepared Society

Learning About Systems:

Puppet Shows

Shadow puppet shows are a wonderful way to teach students of all ages about living systems, while having a lot of fun! During the show, students are actively engaged as systems sleuths. That means while they watch the show, they look for interconnections and dynamics in nature and their everyday lives, and they try to figure out what causes them to change.

Students who watch the “Mystery of the Deep Sea: The Case of the Disappearing Sea Otters” shadow puppet show for instance, work with an eco-detective sheet (an icon-based systems map) to figure out why sea otters are disappearing off the coast of Alaska. Their eco-detective motto? ACTIONS LEAVE TRACKS. After the show is over, they take their eco-detective sheet home and share the hidden connections they discovered with a friend or family member.

shadow puppets

Students learn systems thinking skills by becoming eco-detectives during shadow puppet shows. Systems-based shadow puppet shows are designed for grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8.