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Research and resources
Under 50 students
Over 50 students
Out of class activity
Media and Technology
Commentary: Why Student Self-Reflection is Critical to Inquiry
In the conversation of knowledge-creation, students must be prompted to ready themselves for constructive participation.
Teaching Tip: Replicating the Scientific Publishing Process in Class
Help students learn the scientific review process by living it themselves.
Teaching Tip: Coaching Students how to Study
A few minutes telling your students how to study in science can make a world of difference. Here's what you can tell them.
Teaching Tip: Getting Students who Take Excellent Notes
Not all students arrive on campus knowing how to take effective class notes. A simple note-taking method can serve your students in many ways: for use as in-class notes, review, and high-quality exam preparation.
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.
Activity: Helping Students See Conceptual Relationships: Graphic Organizers
These simple activties leverage the power of visualizing information to help students make conceptual distinctions.
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: Constructive Controversy
A sequential small-group exercise designed to engage students deeply in many sides of a complex issue.
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: Eloosis: The Scientific Method Game
Watch a simple card game teach students the basic elements of the scientific method, quickly and enjoyably. Students move from wanting to win, to wanting to analyze, hypothesize, and test.
Activity: Fishbowl Discussion
Watching others in discussion can sometimes trigger thinking that being a participant would not. This flexible format allows for both.
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: How Good Are These Questions?
Give students practice assessing the quality of a question before deciding whether or how to answer it.
Activity: Problem-Solving Activities
A popular format for giving students practice grappling with problems that are realistically "messy."
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: Design a Perfect...
Releasing students from practical constraints can unleash creative brainstorming power.
Activity: Synthesizing a "True" Statement from Competing Factions
One teacher's creative approach to putting students in the shoes of competing factions who have to generate a joint statement upon which they can all agree.
Activity: Four S Activities
A powerful small-group discussion assignment that focuses students' attention on applying course material in order to make and justify a specific decision.