Access the student reflection APP which provides an opportunity for students and teachers to reflect and respond to topic-specific prompts.
Critical thinking involves labeling and identifying people, objects, and events based on their characteristics. Comparing is examining 2 or more events, people, places, or ideas to identify how they are the same. Contrasting is examining events, people, places, or ideas to see how they are different.
Opinions are views or judgments that you form about something. They are not conclusive. We can form opinions based on our beliefs, how we feel, what we hear, and what others say. We can also form opinions based on facts and knowledge.
Evidence and data are used to support your opinions. Consider primary sources. Looking at emotional responses and fact-based information can help us advocate for what we believe.
Activity 1: (10 minutes) DOCUMENT DISCUSSION
Ask the class where they would look to find the answer to a difficult question on a homework assignment. Make a list of the students’ answers. (Answers will likely include: asking a friend, asking Siri/Alexa, Googling the answer, asking a teacher, checking a textbook, looking on YouTube)
Share the 6-part document about critical thinking and evaluating a source. Ask the class to quietly read the questions to themselves for 2 minutes. Then read the document aloud to the class.
Activity 2: (20 minutes) EXAMINE RESEARCH & SOURCES
Tell the class that you will be putting the document to use by looking at some interesting information. This can be done as a class, using a teacher computer and overhead projector, or students can use their own devices and work in groups. Have students examine this article about the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto on “Water Consciousness.” (This article was chosen because the premise is incredibly fascinating, and many people believe the information at face value.)
An answer key is provided for teachers here.
Ask the class to share their opinions about Dr. Masaru Emoto’s research. Encourage respect and kindness if students disagree with one another.
Have a class discussion:
Where can we look for more information that will prove or disprove the results in the article?
Many students do not know how to find reliable, scientific answers. Share with the class that scholar.google.com helps narrow down internet searches to those that are scientific articles.
Activity 3: (10 minutes) VIDEO & DISCUSSION
Share this video from TED-Ed about tips to improve critical thinking skills.
Ask students to use the 5 steps of critical thinking outlined in the video to rethink Masaru Emoto’s experiment. Possible student responses are listed next to each step: