Systems TEKS


5.D Examine the parts of a whole to define or model a system


5.D Examine and model the parts of a system and their interdependence in the function of the system

The concept of systems is a crosscutting scientific principle that helps scientists understand and analyze the interconnectedness and complexity of the natural and human-made world. Systems thinking recognizes that phenomena and processes are not isolated but are part of larger, interdependent systems. This concept allows scientists to study the relationships, interactions, and emergent properties that arise from the components of a system and their interactions.

A system 

- is a collection of interrelated components or elements that work together to achieve a common goal or purpose. Components within a system can be objects, organisms, processes, or even abstract entities, and their interactions can be physical, chemical, biological, informational, or social. Systems can range from simple to highly complex, and they can be found at various scales, from microscopic to global.

System Boundary: A system boundary defines the scope of a system and separates it from its external environment. It helps scientists delineate which components and interactions are considered part of the system under study and which are not. Defining a system boundary is crucial to focus the analysis and understand the system's behavior.

System Components: Components are the individual parts or elements that make up a system. They can be tangible objects, such as cells in a biological organism or gears in a mechanical system, or intangible elements, such as variables in a mathematical model or nodes in a network. The behavior and properties of a system emerge from the interactions and relationships among its components.

Interactions and Relationships: Interactions are the connections, exchanges, or influences that occur between components within a system. These interactions can be direct or indirect, and they play a crucial role in shaping the behavior, dynamics, and emergent properties of the system. Understanding the relationships between components helps scientists predict and analyze system behavior.

Emergent Properties: Emergent properties are characteristics or behaviors that arise from the interactions and relationships among the components of a system, but are not present in the individual components alone. These properties can be unexpected, complex, or difficult to predict by solely studying the isolated components. Emergent properties highlight the importance of studying systems holistically and recognizing that the whole system is greater than the sum of its parts.

Feedback and Control: Systems often involve feedback mechanisms and control processes that regulate and stabilize their behavior. Feedback can be positive, amplifying or reinforcing a process, or negative, dampening or balancing a process. Control mechanisms help maintain stability, balance, or desired outcomes within a system.

Understanding systems and employing systems thinking allows scientists to analyze complex phenomena, identify patterns, predict behavior, and design interventions. It is a valuable approach in fields such as physics, biology, ecology, engineering, economics, and social sciences. Systems thinking helps scientists recognize the interconnectedness of elements and the dynamic nature of processes, leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the world and informing strategies for problem-solving, optimization, and sustainability.

Cause and Effect

Flows, Cycles, and Conservation


Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

Stability and Change

Structure and Function


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