Activities that stimulate curiosity, teach science concepts, and avoid overwhelming or boring children with lessons that are developmentally inappropriate? In the article below, I review the advice of educational and cognitive psychologists about preschool science education. But if you are looking for specific activities, you can also check out these links: Floating and Boating is a set of science activities that encourage kids to play in the water, explore the concept of buoyancy, and make some cool contraptions.
You might wonder if kids will work it out for themselves. After all, lots of smart people have managed to think logically without formal instruction in logic.
Moreover, studies show that kids become better learners when they are forced to explain how they solve problems. So maybe kids will discover principles of logic spontaneously, as they discuss their ideas with others. But research hints at something else, too.
Perhaps the most effective way to foster critical thinking skills is to teach those skills. Abrami et al Studies suggest that students become remarkably better problem-solvers when we teach them to analyze analogies create categories and classify items appropriately identify relevant information construct and recognize valid deductive arguments test hypotheses recognize common reasoning fallacies distinguish between evidence and interpretations of evidence Do such lessons stifle creativity?
Critical thinking is about curiosity, flexibility, and keeping an open mind Quitadamo et al And, as Robert DeHaan has argued, creative problem solving depends on critical thinking skills DeHaan In fact, research suggests that explicit instruction in critical thinking may make kids smarter, more independent, and more creative.
Here are some examples--and some expert tips for teaching critical thinking to kids. Teaching critical thinking may boost inventiveness and raise IQ Richard Herrnstein and his colleagues gave over seventh graders explicit instruction in critical thinking--a program that covered hypothesis testing, basic logic, and the evaluation of complex arguments, inventiveness, decision making, and other topics.
The project was remarkably effective. Compared to students in a control group, the kids given critical thinking lessons made substantial and statistically significant improvements in language comprehension, inventive thinking, and even IQ Herrnstein et al Then they randomly assigned some students to receive critical thinking lessons as part of their biology curriculum.
Students in the experimental group were explicitly trained to recognize logical fallacies, analyze arguments, test hypotheses, and distinguish between evidence and the interpretation of evidence.
Students in a control group learned biology from the same textbook but got no special coaching in critical thinking.
At the end of the program, students were tested again. The students with critical thinking training showed greater improvement in their analytical skills, and not just for biology problems. The kids trained in critical thinking also did a better job solving everyday problems Zohar et al Tips for teaching critical thinking: What should parents and teachers do?
The short answer is make the principles of rational and scientific thinking explicit. Philip Abrami and colleagues analyzed studies about teaching critical thinking.
The teaching approach with the strongest empirical support was explicit instruction--i. In studies where teachers asked students to solve problems without giving them explicit instruction, students experienced little improvement Abrami et al So it seems that kids benefit most when they are taught formal principles of reasoning.
And the experiments mentioned above suggest that middle school students aren't too young to learn about logic, rationality, and the scientific method. I also wonder about the need to counteract the forces of irrationality.
What else can we do?"Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fairminded way.
People who think critically attempt, with consistent and conscious effort, to live rationally, reasonably, and empathically. Science and Engineering While there are numerous resources on our website applicable to Science and Engineering instruction, the following resources are among the most relevant to incorporating critical thinking concepts into the Science or Engineering classroom.
The Critical Thinking Company publishes PreK+ books and software to develop critical thinking in core subject areas. Sharpen your child’s critical thinking and logical reasoning skills with our collection of fun, free and printable critical thinking worksheets!
Critical Thinking Worksheets. Critical thinking is more than just a simple thought process. It involves thinking on a much deeper underlying level rather than just at the surface.
81 Fresh & Fun Critical-Thinking Activities Engaging Activities and Reproducibles to Develop Kids’ Higher-Level Thinking Skills by Laurie Rozakis.