Thinking and Reasoning Teacher Resources
Find Thinking and Reasoning educational ideas and activities
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Making a Constitutional Government
Fourth graders examine the main ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They consider the relationship between the two documents and how different functions of government are interdependent.
Give Me Liberty
Fourth graders investigate the lives and societal contributions of Patrick Henry and Sojourner Truth. They complete a series of lessons that compare and contrast the biographies, historical context and work of these two revolutionaries.
Heroes, Legends and Folktales
Fourth graders read classic stories including "The Magic Brocade" and "St. George and the Dragon". They complete a series of lessons in which they compare stories and produce original narrative legends.
Anne Frank: Critical Thinking
Students read a story by James Clavell about propaganda and they discuss how it was used in the story. In groups, they decide what they would do if faced with certain situations.
Mining and Boulder County History
Students examine a variety of aspects dealing with family life, survival, and mining in Colorado using primary and secondary sources. Research resources and handouts provide a background for this ten lesson unit.
Introduction to Magnetism and Electronics
Young scholars are introduced to the concepts of magnetism and electronics. As a class, they walk through the steps of the scientific method and define new vocabulary. In groups, they are given a bag of objects and they are to separate them into magnetic and non-magnetic. They also discover on a basic level how electronics operate.
Lesson 2: Trouble in Gold Flats
Students, after researching and discussing the California Gold Rush, identify consequences of a lack of law and authority in the hypothetical California mining camp of Gold Flats. They are introduced to the Gold Flats Gazette, which describes problems within the camp.
Choose Your Path
Learners identify the plot and theme of cartoons. In groups, they discuss and compare the written and movie versions of popular fairy tales. Individually, they write their own fairy tale and share them with the class. They write their own speeches about which brother should marry the princess. To end the lesson, they perform the tale they wrote and receive feedback.
Life on Earth and Beyond, Our Search for Answers
Students in a special education classroom are introduced to how the universe and solar system was formed. Using the internet, they research the characteristics of Earth that support human life. In groups, they compare and contrast Earth's characteristics and other planets. To end the lesson, they discuss the possibility of traveling further into the solar system.
I Am Me and Nobody Else!
Fourth graders explore writing as a way to communicate. In this writing lesson, 4th graders articulate how they feel about an issue in their lives. Students share their works.
Using Percents in the Real-World
Seventh graders use a variety of strategies to solve problems with integers, fractions, decimals, and percents. For this number operations lesson, 7th graders discuss sales tax and use grids to represent money and percents. Students shade in the grid to solve percent problems. Students solve sales tax, discounts, and sales price percent problems. Students improve reasoning skills and visualize real world percent problems with the grids.
Fish Farm: an open ended, student centered laboratory activity
Learners are contacted by a fictitious company which raises tropical fish to do basic research for them so that they might keep their production costs down. They need to know the optimum salinity in which to hatch the brine shrimp that they use for food.
Critical Thinking and Art with The Snowy Day
First graders view and listen to the Caldecott Award-winning book, The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats; students make collages and marbleize paper with help from teacher.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Journal Activities
Fourth graders read the book "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" and respond to various questions and prompts to explore how to form and express opinions in various ways. The activity is actually a series of ideas for each chapter of the book. Through active engagement your class will examine plot, characters, setting, and the art of good storytelling.
Pulling It All Together
Students review data about a health problem and prepare an investigative report. Teams trade reports and utilize skills developed from previous lessons to evaluate the critical thinking evident in the reports.
Students analyze recent media trends, and develop critical thinking skills by summarizing main ideas, extracting details, formulating opinions, drawing inferences, and comparing and contrasting attitudes. They also practice paraphrasing skills and review vocabulary.
Land is the Basis of All Independence
Students develop debating and analytical thinking skills. They take a position in the Back-to-Africa discussion, based upon any readings and the two opposing essays they read. In groups, they discuss an issue from two different points of view. To end the lesson, they write an essay from the point of view of non-slaved or enslaved African.
Is Gulf War Syndrome a Significant Health Issue the U.S. Government has Tried to Cover Up?
Students examine the issues surrounding Gulf War Syndrome. In groups, they analyze evidence from the war and medical information. They participate in a debate in which they support their feelings on whether the government of the United States tried to hide this issue from the Americacn public. To end the lesson, they read articles from veterns who suffer from the disease.
Talk About the Passion
Students think critically about artistic freedom and evaluate the aims and effectiveness of censorship and education. They begin an investigation of the ongoing controversy surrounding Mel Gibson's "The Passion of Christ" by reading "New Film May Harm Gibson's Career." In small groups, students research the issues raised by the film and contribute two written pages to an intellectual guide designed to sharpen viewer's critical thinking skills.
The Conquest of the Aztec Civilization
Students use the classroom atlases, the Internet or textbooks to draw a freehand map. They work in groups using the maps in the book The Broken Spears (Portilla) and The Conquest of New Spain (Diaz) to draw a freehand map identifying the cities and lakes. Students use butcher paper to draw the map.