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Critical Thinking In High School Physics

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Presentation examines the question, "What is Critical Thinking, and how is it developed in the context of a high school Physics class?"

Presentation examines the question, "What is Critical Thinking, and how is it developed in the context of a high school Physics class?"

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  • 1. Critical Thinking in High School Physics By Alan Zollner ED 5251: Curriculum and Methods for Adolescent Education Mount St. Mary College April 23, 2008
  • 2. Research Topic
    • What is critical thinking, and how is it developed in the context of a high school Physics Class?
  • 3. Surprise Quiz:
    • Why, except during a full moon, is part of the moon in a shadow?
    Source: http://moon.nightskyobserver.com/index.php
  • 4. Moon Shadow
    • Explanatory hypothesis
    • The earth blocks light from the sun,
    • causing a shadow.
    • The moon happens to sit on the boundary of that shadow;
    • hence, part of the moon is lit up, while the rest is in darkness.
    Example from Paul Hager, Ray Sleet, Peter Logan, & Hooper, M. ,2003.
  • 5. Moon Shadow
    • Did you accept this hypothesis without first thinking about it?
    • Thinking uncritically
    • Did we compare this hypothesis to others?
    • Alternate hypothesis:
  • 6. Earth and Moon as viewed from Mars http://www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/PIA04531.htm 22 May 2003 Date Released:  8 May 2003 Date Taken:   NASA Copyright Free Policy Copyright:  NASA/Malin Space Science Systems Produced by:   Mars Orbiter Camera Instrument:   Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter Spacecraft:   Earth, Moon Target Name:  
  • 7. What is Critical Thinking?
    • Reasonable reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.
      • (Source: Ennis, 1996 cited in Hager, et al, 2003 )
    • Characteristics of a critically thinking person:
      • (Source: Gadzella & Penland, 1995 and Halpern, 1998 cited Kaplan, 2004 p. 123)
      • Makes inferences,
      • Identifies assumptions,
      • Analyzes arguments,
      • Assess the reliability of a source,
      • Distinguishes fact from opinion,
      • Recognizes bias, fallacy, and irrelevance.
    • An individual’s ability and inclination to make and assess conclusions based on evidence.
    • (Source: Glassner, Weinstock, & Neuman, 2005 and van Gelder, 2005 cited in Eggen & Kauchak 2007 p. 282)
  • 8. What is Critical Thinking?
    • Reasonable reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.
      • (Source: Ennis, 1996 cited in Hager, et al, 2003 )
    • Characteristics of a critically thinking person:
      • (Source: Gadzella & Penland, 1995 and Halpern, 1998 cited Kaplan, 2004 p. 123)
      • Makes inferences,
      • Identifies assumptions,
      • Analyzes arguments,
      • Assess the reliability of a source,
      • Distinguishes fact from opinion,
      • Recognizes bias, fallacy, and irrelevance.
    • An individual’s ability and inclination to make and assess conclusions based on evidence.
    • (Source: Glassner, Weinstock, & Neuman, 2005 and van Gelder, 2005 cited in Eggen & Kauchak 2007 p. 282)
  • 9. What is Critical Thinking?
    • Reasonable reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.
      • (Source: Ennis, 1996 cited in Hager, et al, 2003 )
    • Characteristics of a critically thinking person:
      • (Source: Gadzella & Penland, 1995 and Halpern, 1998 cited Kaplan, 2004 p. 123)
      • Makes inferences,
      • Identifies assumptions,
      • Analyzes arguments,
      • Assess the reliability of a source,
      • Distinguishes fact from opinion,
      • Recognizes bias, fallacy, and irrelevance.
    • An individual’s ability and inclination to make and assess conclusions based on evidence.
    • (Source: Glassner, Weinstock, & Neuman, 2005 and van Gelder, 2005 cited in Eggen & Kauchak 2007 p. 282)
  • 10. What is Critical Thinking?
    • Reasonable reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do.
      • (Source: Ennis, 1996 cited in Hager, et al, 2003 )
    • Characteristics of a critically thinking person:
      • (Source: Gadzella & Penland, 1995 and Halpern, 1998 cited Kaplan, 2004 p. 123)
      • Makes inferences,
      • Identifies assumptions,
      • Analyzes arguments,
      • Assess the reliability of a source,
      • Distinguishes fact from opinion,
      • Recognizes bias, fallacy, and irrelevance.
    • An individual’s ability and inclination to make and assess conclusions based on evidence.
    • (Source: Glassner, Weinstock, & Neuman, 2005 and van Gelder, 2005 cited in Eggen & Kauchak 2007 p. 282)
  • 11. Challenge of Critical Thinking
      • Critical Thinking is hard.
      • Most people are not very good at it.
        • “ When asked to provide evidence to justify an opinion, more than have the population flounders.” (van Gelder, 2005 cited in Eggen and Kauchak, 2007)
      • Not a natural disposition for humans.
        • “ Our minds seem to have an intrinsic tendency toward illusion, distortion, and error.” (Sherman, 2002 and Piatelli-Palmarini, 1994 cited in Eggan and Kauchak, 2007)
      • Belief Preservation: The tendency to make evidence subservient to belief, rather than the other way around.
        • Changing belief disrupts cognitive equilibrium, which requires energy to reestablish it.
      • Takes practice.
  • 12. Higher Thinking Creativity Higher Thinking Critical Thinking Concepts Rules Problem Solving
        • (Source: Levine, 2002, p.190)
  • 13. Blooms Taxonomy of Educational Objectives in the Cognitive Domain Knowledge Comprehension Application Analysis Synthesis Evaluation Highest Level Lowest Level Most Authentic Less Authentic (Source: Bloom et al., 1984 cited in Borich, 2007, p. 93) Form judgments. Make decisions. State the basis of judgments.
  • 14. Some Types of Critical Thinking
    • Distinguishing facts, non-facts, and opinions
    • Distinguishing an unsure conclusion from a direct observation
    • Challenging the reliability of a claim
    • Distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information
    • Making a decision
    • Identifying causes and effects
    • Considering other points of view
    • Asking your own questions
        • (Source: Levine, 2002, p.203-206)
  • 15. A Step-by-step Approach to Critical Thinking
        • (Source: Levine, 2002, p.203-206)
    formulate opinions using words Communicate Step 7 Pull it all together Weigh the evidence Step 6 other people’s opinions Get outside help Step 5 appearance vs reality Search for errors and exaggerations Step 4 What’s my point of view, my feelings? Establish the student’s own bias Step 3 detective work. Uncover the point of view Step 2 describe objectively Enumerate the facts Step 1
  • 16. Teaching Critical Thinking
    • 1) Nurture a positive attitude toward critical thinking.
    • 2) Instruction and practice in critical thinking skills.
    • 3) Demonstrate how to transfer critical thinking skills from one situation to another.
      • e.g.: More money for a missile system, repairs of old car, marry longtime girlfriend. Sunk costs problem
    • 4) Direct and assess thinking.
      • Did it work?
        • (Kaplan, 2004 p. 123 – 125)
  • 17. Component Skills in thinking (Source: Eggen & Kauchak 2007 p. 284) Checking consistency Identifying bias, stereotypes, cliches, and propaganda Identifying unstated assumptions Recognizing overgeneralizations or undergeneralizations Confirming conclusions with facts Assessing conclusions based on observation Inferring Predicting Hypothesizing Applying Forming Conclusions based on patterns Comparing and contrasting Classifying Identifying relevant and irrelevant information Finding Patterns and generalizing Recalling Recognizing Observing Subskill Skill
  • 18. Instructional Strategies
    • Evaluative Strategy:
      • Evaluative Questions:
        • e.g. Why? What reasons? How do you know? Explain.
      • Evaluative Criteria
        • Help students generate criteria for making judgments
    • Think-Aloud Modeling
    • Student summaries
      • Help students develop criteria
  • 19. Physics
    • …and how is critical thinking developed in the context of a high school Physics class?
  • 20. The Great Ideas of Physics: Exemplars
    • The sun-centered planetary model
      • Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543)
    • Heavy and light objects fall at the same rate in the absence of air resistance.
      • Galileo (1564 – 1642)
    • The Scientific Method
  • 21. The Scientific Method
    • Make Observations
    • Formulate a hypothesis
    • Test the hypothesis
    • Analyze the results
    • Reach a Conclusion
    • Modify the hypothesis
    Practice in … Thought experiments, Classroom demonstrations, Lab experiments
  • 22. Developing Concepts by Evaluating Hypotheses
    • Sound: Particles or waves?
      • What are the implications of each hypothesis?
      • How can we prove one or the other?
      • Interference – wave phenomenon
    • Caloric fluid theory vs. thermal energy
  • 23. Questions and Assessments
    • “ Two mass-spring systems vibrate with simple harmonic motion. If the spring constants are equal and the mass of one system is twice that of the other, which system has a greater period?”
    T = 2 √ m k (Source: Serway & Faughn, 2006, p. 381)
  • 24. Questions and Assessments
    • “Two cars are moving in the same direction in parallel lanes along a highway. At some instant, the instantaneous velocity of car A exceeds the instantaneous velocity of car B. Does this mean that car A’s acceleration is greater than car B’s? Explain and use examples.”
    (Source: Serway & Faughn, 2006, p. 381)
  • 25. Summary: Developing Critical Thinking in High School Physics
    • Critical thinking refers to an individual’s ability and inclination to make and assess conclusions based on evidence.
    • Higher order thinking: Evaluation
    • Opportunities when teaching Physics:
      • Great ideas of Physics
      • Evaluating hypotheses
      • The scientific method
      • Evaluating claims
      • Thinking aloud
      • Questioning
      • Assessments
  • 26. Sources
    • Borich, G. D. (2007). Effective teaching methods: Research-based practice (sixth ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Merrill/Prentice Hall.
    • Eggen, P., & Kauchak, D. (2007). Educational psychology: Windows on classrooms (Seventh ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.
    • Kaplan, P. S. (2004). Adolescence . Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
    • Levine, M. (2002). A mind at a time . New York: Simon & Schuster.
    • Orlich, D. C., Hardner, R. J., Callahan, R. C., Trevisan, M. S., & Brown, A. H. (2007). Teaching strategies: A guide to effective instruction (Eigth ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
    • Paul Hager, Ray Sleet, Peter Logan, & Hooper, M. (2003). Teaching Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Science Courses. Science & Education, 12 , 303-313.
    • Serway, R. A., & Faughn, J. S. (2006). Physics . Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
    • van Gelder, T. (2005). Teaching critical thinking: Some lessons from cognitive science. College Teaching, 53 (1), 41-46.
    • Additional Resources:
    • This website has a photo of the Earth and moon as viewed from Mars aboard the Mars Global Surveyor Orbiter on May 8, 2003, courtesy of NASA: http://www.solarviews.com/cap/earth/PIA04531.htm
    • Langrehr, J. (2001). Teaching our children to think . Bloomington: Solution Tree.
    Critical Thinking in High School Physics