Critical thinking is more than just being able to think clearly about a topic or problem; it is a crucial life skill that every student must learn to be successful. And since many children do not learn this skill at home, it’s essential to teach it in school.
Here are some way teachers use Studies Weekly Social Studies to develop critical thinking in their students:
1. Start by Asking a Question
The easiest way to improve critical thinking in your students is to ask open-ended questions. These questions should require some research and problem-solving.
For example, have your students read an article out of their Studies Weekly publication then use it to answer questions such as, “What are the similarities between you and the people in the article?” or “What would you do differently to achieve an alternative outcome?” Ask them to discuss their answers as a class.
2. Have Students Collaborate
Collaboration is not only an essential skill for critical thinking, but it will teach students how to cooperate with their peers. As students discuss a problem in history, they learn how to form conclusions and process information as a group.
3. Hold a Mock Debate
Holding debates improves critical thinking by helping students see both sides of an issue. Choose a topic from your Studies Weekly publications and have students discuss each side. Ask a question and have students take turns debating their stance.
You could also have them role-play both sides. Seeing an issue from another perspective can be a great way to get students thinking analytically and creatively.
4. Increase Critical Thinking Through Information Fluency
Information fluency involves knowing how to use the information you gather to determine what is relevant, and what is not.
Ask an open-ended question at the beginning of the lesson and then pull out some phrases from the articles and write them on the board. Have students decide which pieces of information best help them answer the question.
5. Teach Open-Ended Problem-Solving
Assign a student or a group of students a challenge. Perhaps they have to build a tower or hat out of unrelated, diverse ingredients. Through trial and error, your students learn how to problem-solve and increase critical thinking skills.
For more of our classroom ideas and to download some free lesson plans, subscribe to our newsletter. Or, you can sign up for a free trial of Studies Weekly.