Overview: System tools can assist students in comprehending nonfiction text. Using behavior–over–time graphs (BOTGs) and stock/flow maps, students will analyze change over time and explore the interdependencies of those changes. In addition, they will share insights, inferences and connections as warranted by the text.

Lesson Objectives

Curriculum Context


Students will demonstrate their ability to:

  • Locate and select information deemed as important.
  • Identify relationships and draw conclusions about their meaning in the text.
  • Analyze information and ideas presented in the text and infer cause and effect.
  • Form and support inferences based on text.
This lesson focuses on the concepts of reading comprehension found in all grade levels and can be used with a wide variety of curricular topics and disciplines.

The prerequisites skills needed for this lesson are an understanding of BOTGs and stock/flow diagrams. A thorough pre-teaching of these tools prior to this activity may be necessary.

Once students have experienced this process, it can be revisited.  The entire lesson or selected steps can be used with any other text.

  • Change over time
  • Interdependencies
  • Accumulations



Systems Tools

Students will need: writing instruments, highlighters, and lined paper.

Teacher will need to provide handouts of “appropriate” reading material. To assist in modeling the process, it would be helpful to have a whiteboard, dry erase markers, a flip chart and regular markers

  • 3 hours
  • Behavior–over–time graph
  • Stock/flow map

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