Episode 75: Teaching Thinking at a Deeper Level

October 26, 2015

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One of our challenges is to get the kids to think deeper. One way of doing this is to create an activity that encourages the kids to take evidence, find additional evidence, analyze it, and then use it to try to persuade listeners that their point of view is the best interpretation of the data. You could use this activity to get the kids to make a stand using contextual information. Wow! This could lead to some serious thinking! 

I can smell those brain cells burning right now.

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Since it is almost Halloween, I thought that the example I would share today would involve two scary stories that are centered on humans creating and manipulating life. The two stories are Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. 

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But the activity wouldn’t be complete without introducing information from a real genetic engineering article; hence I have included a very recent story from Scientific American about gene editing and avoiding biosafety rules and laws. Hmmm, seems to fit nicely with the two books. All it needs is some serious weather with lightning and deranged laughter.

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So here it goes...the kids can team up or not team up, they are required to read from each of the books to find evidence of a point of view. Ultimately, they are to share this with the class and the teacher in a presentation that is designed to persuade the class that their point of view is accurate and the best interpretation of the contextual evidence. The kids should have to share a number of references from each novel and scholarly article. There are many possibilities for this but let's say that one side of the argument is that humans should not be allowed to pursue DNA experimentation whereas, the other side is yes most definitely humans should pursue this science. What do you think? Without inserting your thoughts, could you challenge them to think at a deeper level to make a persuasive argument?

I challenge you to push kids to see connections; I assure you they will not let you down. They may even want to know more about the science behind the novels and the magazine article. 

Try it! 

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What stories might you choose?

Have fun!

 Resources:

CRISPR Could Help Gene-Edited Crops Bypass Biosafety Regulation

Frankenstein

Jurassic Park

Length-13:00

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00:0000:00