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Research and resources
Under 50 students
Over 50 students
Out of class activity
Media and Technology
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: Facilitating a Case Discussion
Cases are excellent springboards into engaged discussion. A few moves on your part can help students make the most of that conversation.
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: 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: Problem-Solving Activities
A popular format for giving students practice grappling with problems that are realistically "messy."
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: Design a Perfect...
Releasing students from practical constraints can unleash creative brainstorming power.
Activity: Embellish Your Answer(s) to "What If?"
Extrapolating from current trends can be a doorway into creative problem-solving. This activity helps open that doorway.
Activity: Reflection Assignments
Reflecting upon course-related experience is often a new kind of assignment for them. Reflection guides like this can help prompt them in constructive directions.
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: Collaborative Editing
To be a good writer, you must be a good editor. Here's how one teacher helps his students learn both skills at once.
Activity: Modeling How to Receive Criticism
Open students up to receiving criticism by showing them how you respond when you are criticized yourself.
Activity: Living an Ethical Case - The "Tragedy of the Classroom"
Telling a resource-depletion story pales in comparison to making students live it, with real grade points attached. Here's how one teacher does it.
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.