The world we live in is increasingly interconnected in ways that affect our lives. There are social and emotional connections between people; physical connections between animals, people, and the environment; and economic connections between companies, cities, and nations, to name just a few. Scientists and mathematicians often refer to groups of interconnected elements (e.g., animals and plants within the environment) as a “system” and have made great strides in explaining how the elements of a system interact with one another.

While this might seem at first blush to be the kind of content best studied in formal classrooms, many of the most successful approaches to learning about systems, such as embodied play and game design, are quite popular in out-of-school environments. Through informal approaches such ...

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