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Research and resources
Under 50 students
Over 50 students
Out of class activity
Media and Technology
Resource: The Cornell Note-Taking Method (handout)
A simple but powerful method enabling students to put their notes to many kinds of instructional use. (Described in 'Getting Students who Take Excellent Notes'.)
Commentary: Letting Students Choose their own Problem Solving Inquiry
One teacher's experience with the galvanizing effect upon his class when students are allowed to choose their own problem-solving inquiry topic.
Commentary: An Inquiry-Based Creative Problem Solving Course
A concise description of how an "inquiry" course can be organized, with a unique culminating presentation format.
Teaching Tip: Reflection Notebooks and "Stickies"
Commenting upon students' writing is important, and this teacher has found a way to enrich those written conversations by making them self-referential.
Teaching Tip: Discussion Papers
Two ways to address the age-old frustration of students not having read before coming to class.
Teaching Tip: Informal Writing to Stimulate Critical Discussion
Brief moments of low-stakes writing in class can lead students from their own concrete observations into conceptual course material.
Teaching Tip: Replicating the Scientific Publishing Process in Class
Help students learn the scientific review process by living it themselves.
Teaching Tip: Cause and Effect from a First-Person Perspective
Cause-and-effect thinking can be stimulated by this unique writing assignment and peer evaluation process.
Teaching Tip: Stimulating Critical Thinking with "Think Sheets"
Engage students in class readings with these brief writing assignments that demand divergent thinking.
Teaching Tip: How I Have Learned Portfolios Work Best
From experience, this teacher has learned a valuable lesson about what kinds of autonomy students should be given and what kinds they should not.
Activity: Helping Students See Conceptual Relationships: Graphic Organizers
These simple activties leverage the power of visualizing information to help students make conceptual distinctions.
Activity: The Rhetorical Precis
Help your students begin learning how to summarize complex readings by giving them this simple set of prompts.
Activity: "Problematizing" a Graph or Image
A simple but surprisingly powerful in-class method for putting students in the shoes of a researcher.
Activity: Diagramming Arguments
Directing students' attention to how an argument is constructed is critical to helping them assess arguments made by others and make better arguments, themselves.
Activity: Necessary and Sufficient
Understanding a problem means learning more about what is necessary and sufficient to solve it. This exercise gives students practice identifying those elements.
Activity: After This, Therefore Because of This
Sensitize students to fallacies in causal reasoning by asking them to generate and then reverse causal inferences.
Activity: The Third Variable Problem
Giving students practice generating alternative hypotheses is crucial to their critical thinking development. This activity can begin that process.
Activity: Evaluating Media Reports
Critical analysis of popular news stories can demonstrate to students the everyday usefulness of critical thinking skills.
Activity: The Observation/Inference Chart
This exercise gives students practice identifying what meaning they draw from a given set of data, and evaluating the quality of their inferences.
Activity: Information Literacy Activities
Students do not arrive on campus knowing how to make good use of information sources. Here are some ideas on how to get them started.
Activity: Critical Thinking "In The Wild"
Giving students language to describe the kind of thinking done around them is the first stem toward equipping them as independent thinkers.
Activity: Develop a Deep Understanding of the Problem
Problem solving can leap too quickly to solution-finding, without enough attention paid to the nature of the problem. Here are some questions with which to slow things down.
Often used to describe any process of "coming up with ideas," brainstorming actually involves a specific set of discrete activities.
Activity: The "Hierarchical Solution Generation" Method
Brainstorming is only the first step to generating solutions: this method mines what has already been brainstormed to generate additional possibilities.
Among the simplest and most popular ways to activate any classroom. In as little as two minutes, students get time to reflect, compare thoughts with their peers, then give you feedback as a class.
Activity: Formal Writing: Making Research Papers "Proposals"
Take the traditional research paper up a notch by asking students to employ their research as support for a persuasive argument to a specific audience.
Activity: Informal Writing: A Few In-Class Activities
Fast and easy in-class writing assignments can provide the moment of reflection your students need to engage and contribute in discussion.
Activity: Personal Writing: Two Forms of Critical Thinking Journal
Critical thinking journals are a powerful way to stimulate student reflection and integration of course content into students' daily lives.