Great Critical Thinking Activities That Engage Your Students

What do you need to do to quickly develop critical thinking? What teaching methods to use? These questions will appear in the head after the desire to improve the quality of decisions made. The approach to training your thinking is complex and time-consuming. For this reason, many give up halfway. All because the wrong training method was chosen. 

What exercises will help develop critical thinking skills? 

Let’s think of a question that we will answer. For instance: “Is nuclear energy the energy of the future?” 

Exercise 1: 

Let’s make a table that consists of: 

  • pros
  • cons
  • questions 

We analyze the advantages and disadvantages of using nuclear energy and enter them in the appropriate columns. Nevertheless, these data are insufficient for us to draw an accurate conclusion, so in the third column, we write questions, the answers to which we must find ourselves. For example, it can be statistics: how many nuclear power plants are there in the world, how much energy they produce and at what cost, how many accidents have happened over the entire time, etc. After collecting all the data, the items in the first and second columns of our table may change if new information led to new conclusions. Thus, we have learned to collect, check, and analyze input data to solve the problem.

Exercise 2: 

Before searching for the information you need, try to answer the question in a meaningful way. Be sure to include arguments. For example, the question: “Is nuclear energy really the cheapest?” Answer: “No, because, firstly, building a nuclear power plant is expensive, and secondly, solar energy is cheaper based on … data.” Thanks to this exercise, we will learn how to argue our opinion based on the information that we have at a given time.

Exercise 3: 

Compare alternative options with yours. To do this, first, determine the indicators that you will compare. In our case, we need nuclear, solar, water, and thermal. Indicators: the cost of one unit of energy produced, the cost of maintenance and building the station, and the impact on the environment. Find statistical information on the Internet from a trusted source and determine which type of energy will be cheaper.

Exercise 4: 

Discussion is a great way to find the best solution to a problem. Based on the data from the last exercise, we found that nuclear energy is on average better than thermal energy but worse than solar energy. Suppose another student disagrees and thinks that solar energy is inferior to nuclear energy. Lead the discussion, having previously prepared arguments in favor of your opinion. This way, your team can look at the issue from different angles and choose the right decision based on the facts collected.

Train your thinking every day with these exercises, and in the future, you will be able to automatically perform all the necessary actions to make better solutions to problems. Be patient, and everything will work out!