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A Real-World Connection with Critical Thinking

February 20, 2015

Yesterday, during the “cold day” our administrative team got together and discuss the 4-C’s – Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity and Communication.  They got into 4 groups and each one generated a blog post about what their “C” meant for Saline Area Schools.  Here is the post about Critical Thinking produced by: Rex Clary, Patti Henes, Heather Kellstrom, Kendra Leib, and Janice Warner. 

A Real-World Connection with Critical Thinking

When we think of Critical Thinking, the movie “Apollo 13” comes to mind.  Remember the scene where the NASA engineers were placed in a room with only the materials available on Apollo 13 and they had to construct a carbon monoxide filter so the astronauts would live.  Limited resources and “failure is not an option” really bring out the critical thinking and problem solving skills of individuals.

 

How Saline Schools Defines Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking is really quite vast as a topic.  We’re teaching our students to reason effectively, use systems thinking, make judgements and decisions based off of analysis, synthesis, evaluation and reflection, ask questions that lead to better solutions and solve problems in conventional and creative ways.  Using grade appropriate rubrics, our teachers and students are exploring deeper classroom thinking through hands-on content-driven experiences.

Critical Thinking Classroom Story

Three Little Engineers Challenge

Encompassing all four C’s, but especially critical thinking, fourth grade Next Gen scaled an adaption of The Three Little Pigs challenge that first grade and Kindergarten did.

However to encourage high level critical thinking, the teams were introduced to new and more challenging elements throughout the design and creation process. First, they were given supplies, then later a budget with which they had purchase those supplies from Pig Depot introducing elements of math and economics into the project. Then they tested their prototype with a small hairdryer but were later introduced to the Bigger Badder Fan that their design really had to withstand to be considered successful. And their design had to be realistic as the driving question that the students came up with was “How can we design a structure that can withstand strong hurricane or tornado force winds?”.

The students tied this assignment to writing, literature, science, math, social studies.

Interested in the Learning More

A great place to gain a better understanding about Critical Thinking and other 4C’s is to go the Saline Next-Gen website.  Here’s an example of teacher training that recently occurred on the concept of Critical Thinking & Problem Solving.

 

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