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Systems-Thinking Boosted Water Lessons

ThinkWater first focused on teaching systems thinking to youth to enhance their understanding of existing water lessons. This transcends memorization, which does nothing to create the kind of interest, curiosity, and caring required of citizens if we are to create lasting solutions to water dilemmas. In its first year, ThinkWater demonstrated that systems thinking increases understanding and retention of important water lessons. 

“Flipping" Water Education

ThinkWater has also been training water educators to teach systems thinking in order to quickly and efficiently reach the maximum number of people possible. We provide systems thinking-boosted lesson plans, online training tailored for instructors, new classroom tools and techniques, and a rich repository of resources to help both formal and informal educators engage students in water topics through systems thinking.

“Scaling” Water Education

Not everyone has time or the means to receive intensive or in-person education in systems thinking. ThinkWater will influence an increasing number of water researchers, professionals, and education consumers among the public of all ages by offering an optimal and accessible exposure to systems thinking. This allows us to reach more scientists, practitioners, and students, but also ordinary people who care about water but don’t have time to become experts in the subject.


Advancing Water Science and Practice

ThinkWater is poised to prove that applying systems thinking to complex water-related issues produces more expansive, interdisciplinary, and comprehensive research and problem-solving among leading scientists and practitioners in the field.

Outcome Studies

Simultaneous with all efforts to teach systems thinking, we are conducting outcome studies. We use rigorous assessment tools and techniques that measure both deep understanding of content and thinking skills and are developing measures of the benefits of integrating systems thinking into the work of leading water researchers from detailed surveys and case studies.

Media Campaign and Outreach

We offer an online community that allows students, educators, and everyday citizens to visually map, analyze, present, share, adapt, rate, and discuss these “thinkified” lessons, and students at all levels to utilize systems thinking for their own research. We have a systems thinking song and video that might be especially appealing to youth.




ThinkWater engages professors conducting cutting-edge research on the most pressing water problems of the day. We offer systems thinking fellowships to junior faculty studying water issues, both to enhance their research and to study the effects of and refine our systems thinking training.

Extension Professionals

ThinkWater works with professionals in Extension services who are actively engaged in work on key water issues. We offer systems thinking fellowships through a competitive application process to enhance their work, be it outreach, education, research, etc.



We have worked with educators across the country, in person, online, and using a combination of the two. We have worked extensively with individual teachers, principals, and administrators.


Systems thinking was once largely confined to universities, but we have made it accessible—in varying doses and beginner through advanced levels—and free to everyone.



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