Systems are sets of interacting and interconnected components or relationships that together form an integrated whole. Systems are everywhere and they are often complex. Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning. [1]

Systems thinking is the process of understanding how things, regarded as systems, influence one another within a whole. In nature, systems thinking examples include ecosystems in which elements such as air, water, plants, and animals work together to survive or perish. In organisations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organisation “healthy” or “unhealthy”. [2]


Discussion forum activity

  1. Consider your body as an example of a complex living system.
  2. Consider these questions:
    • The body has eight systems, e.g. the circulatory system and the nervous system. Can you name the other six? Now Google for the answer. Which ones did you miss? See in the forum which ones other people missed.
    • In what ways can we harm these bodily systems, or the body as a whole? Brainstorm as many ways as possible. Try to add different ideas to those of others in the class.
    • How do these different means of harm come about, and how might you actively avoid them?
  3. Write your answers in the Discussion Forum (look for the appropriate topic).

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  1. Retrieved on 29th October from:
  2. Retrieved on 29th October 2014 from: