A Flashcard Strategy to Develop
Critical Thinking
Thinking Skills that are used in BIOLOGY
1. to remember biological terms, concepts, theories, and methods
in an accurate m...
I will use the term hypertonic as an example of an
important term because it is
1. a concept contained in all introductory...
Hypertonic means of or pertaining to a
solution with higher solute concentration
compared with another.
The following three slides contain multiple-
choice questions about hypertonic that require
students to remember, to under...
Which of the following best describes a hypertonic solution?
a. Solute concentration is high while the solvent
concentrati...
An environment is _____when the solute concentration
is _____ than the solvent concentration.
a. hypotonic, higher
b. hype...
Celery stalks that are immersed in fresh water for several
hours become stiff and hard. Similar stalks left in a 0.15 M
sa...
Although the subject of all three of these questions
is hypertonic, each question requires a student to
use a different cr...
The first question requires the ability to remember information
accurately because the correct answer is the exact, word-f...
The second question requires the ability to understand
information that has been accurately remembered because the
you mus...
The third question requires the ability to apply understood
information in a real-life situation that involves a hypertoni...
The remaining slides in this
presentation describe a study
strategy designed to enable you to
prepare for and answer these...
Step #1
Purchase a pack of 4x6 cards.
Write each of the bold-faced terms that appear in the
chapter you are about to read ...
Step #2
Begin to read your book, and stop when you
encounter the bold-face term you have written on
your first card.
Let u...
Hypertonic
(This is what one side of your card should look like.)
Copy the definition of the term word-for-word from your textbook on to the top of
the other side of your flash card.
Hyper...
After you have successfully memorized the definition from the textbook, the next
step is to create your own definition tha...
After you have produced your own definition of the term, it is now time for you to
invent an original example of how you h...
The other side of your card
should now look like the next slide.
Hypertonic means of or pertaining to a solution with higher solute
concentration compared with another.
A hypertonic solut...
Now let us revisit our three original
multiple-choice questions to see if
the strategy described in this
presentation has ...
Which of the following best describes a hypertonic solution?
a. Solute concentration is high while the solvent
concentrati...
An environment is _____when the solute concentration
is _____ than the solvent concentration.
a. hypotonic, higher
b. hype...
Celery stalks that are immersed in fresh water for several
hours become stiff and hard. Similar stalks left in a 0.15 M
sa...
No study technique is perfect, and you will
encounter some multiple-choice questions
that require critical thinking skills...
I have two more recommendations
that can help you learn the
information you will need for
multiple-choice tests. The first...
Recommendation #1
The distributed practice effect, which refers to the
benefits of spreading out study sessions over time,...
To take advantage of the distributed practice
effect, it is important to know that your job is not
over when you have comp...
Recommendation #2
You can create paper flashcards as I have previously
suggested or you can create them digitally with the...
Quizlet
http://quizlet.com
StudyBlue
http://www.studyblue.com
FlashCardMachine
http://www.flashcardmachine.com
This presentation is a modification of D.C. Appleby’s presentation to
psychology students.
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Flashcard Strategy

  1. 1. A Flashcard Strategy to Develop Critical Thinking
  2. 2. Thinking Skills that are used in BIOLOGY 1. to remember biological terms, concepts, theories, and methods in an accurate manner; 2. to understand information that has been remembered accurately; and 3. to apply understood information to real-life situations related to this information.
  3. 3. I will use the term hypertonic as an example of an important term because it is 1. a concept contained in all introductory biology textbooks, 2. a challenging term for students to comprehend, 3. often the subject of multiple-choice questions in introductory biology exams. The following slide contains the definition of hypertonic that appears in many introductory biology textbooks.
  4. 4. Hypertonic means of or pertaining to a solution with higher solute concentration compared with another.
  5. 5. The following three slides contain multiple- choice questions about hypertonic that require students to remember, to understand, and to apply this term.
  6. 6. Which of the following best describes a hypertonic solution? a. Solute concentration is high while the solvent concentration is low b. Solute concentration is low while the solvent concentration is high c. Solute concentration inside the cell is equal to the solute concentration outside the cell d. The solution is free of solutes
  7. 7. An environment is _____when the solute concentration is _____ than the solvent concentration. a. hypotonic, higher b. hypertonic, lower c. hypertonic, higher d. isotonic, higher
  8. 8. Celery stalks that are immersed in fresh water for several hours become stiff and hard. Similar stalks left in a 0.15 M salt solution become limp and soft. From this we can deduce that the cells of the celery stalks are a. hypotonic to both fresh water and the salt solution. b. hypertonic to both fresh water and the salt solution. c. hypertonic to fresh water but hypotonic to the salt solution. d. hypotonic to fresh water but hypertonic to the salt solution. e. isotonic with fresh water but hypotonic to the salt solution.
  9. 9. Although the subject of all three of these questions is hypertonic, each question requires a student to use a different critical thinking skill.
  10. 10. The first question requires the ability to remember information accurately because the correct answer is the exact, word-for- word definition of hypertonic taken directly from the textbook. Which of the following best describes a hypertonic? solution a. Solute concentration is high while the solvent concentration is low b. Solute concentration is low while the solvent concentration is high c. Solute concentration inside the cell is equal to the solute concentration outside the cell d. The solution is free of solutes
  11. 11. The second question requires the ability to understand information that has been accurately remembered because the you must be able to recognize a definition of hypertonic when it is composed of different words than the definition in the textbook. An environment is _____when the solute concentration is _____ than the solvent concentration. a. hypotonic, higher b. hypertonic, lower c. hypertonic, higher d. isotonic, higher
  12. 12. The third question requires the ability to apply understood information in a real-life situation that involves a hypertonic environment. Celery stalks that are immersed in fresh water for several hours become stiff and hard. Similar stalks left in a 0.15 M salt solution become limp and soft. From this we can deduce that the cells of the celery stalks are a. hypotonic to both fresh water and the salt solution. b. hypertonic to both fresh water and the salt solution. c. hypertonic to fresh water but hypotonic to the salt solution. d. hypotonic to fresh water but hypertonic to the salt solution. e. isotonic with fresh water but hypotonic to the salt solution.
  13. 13. The remaining slides in this presentation describe a study strategy designed to enable you to prepare for and answer these three types of questions correctly.
  14. 14. Step #1 Purchase a pack of 4x6 cards. Write each of the bold-faced terms that appear in the chapter you are about to read on one side of a card. Keep your cards in the order of the terms as they appear in your book.
  15. 15. Step #2 Begin to read your book, and stop when you encounter the bold-face term you have written on your first card. Let us pretend that the bold-face term written on your first card is hypertonic. Follow the directions on the following slides.
  16. 16. Hypertonic (This is what one side of your card should look like.)
  17. 17. Copy the definition of the term word-for-word from your textbook on to the top of the other side of your flash card. Hypertonic means of or pertaining to a solution with higher solute concentration compared with another. Practice this definition by turning the card over to the term side, trying to recall its word-for-word definition, and then turning the card to the definition side to see if you remembered it. Repeat this process until you can recall the definition accurately. This procedure will enable you to know and to practice this definition so you can remember it accurately in the future when you are asked to recognize it in its original form on a multiple-choice question.
  18. 18. After you have successfully memorized the definition from the textbook, the next step is to create your own definition that contains as few words as possible from the textbook’s definition, and then write this under the textbook’s definition. A hypertonic solution has more solid particles than water Creating your own definition will help you move from simply memorizing the textbook’s definition to actually being able to understand the meaning of the term. After you master this definition with the procedure described on the previous slide, you will own the definition of this term, rather than just borrowing it from your textbook’s author.
  19. 19. After you have produced your own definition of the term, it is now time for you to invent an original example of how you have experienced this term in your own life. Usually when I have a sore throat my mother recommends gargling with warm salt water, which creates a hypertonic environment around my throat cells. Therefore, excess fluid leaves my cells and goes to the extracellular environment through a process called osmosis. Creating this example will help you apply your understanding of a term to a real-life situation that is relevant and meaningful to you.
  20. 20. The other side of your card should now look like the next slide.
  21. 21. Hypertonic means of or pertaining to a solution with higher solute concentration compared with another. A hypertonic solution has more solid particles than water Usually when I have a sore throat my mother recommends gargling with warm salt water, which creates a hypertonic environment around my throat cells. Therefore, excess fluid leaves my cells and goes to the extracellular environment through a process called osmosis. .
  22. 22. Now let us revisit our three original multiple-choice questions to see if the strategy described in this presentation has helped you answer these questions more successfully than when you first saw them.
  23. 23. Which of the following best describes a hypertonic solution? a. Solute concentration is high while the solvent concentration is low b. Solute concentration is low while the solvent concentration is high c. Solute concentration inside the cell is equal to the solute concentration outside the cell d. The solution is free of solutes
  24. 24. An environment is _____when the solute concentration is _____ than the solvent concentration. a. hypotonic, higher b. hypertonic, lower c. hypertonic, higher d. isotonic, higher
  25. 25. Celery stalks that are immersed in fresh water for several hours become stiff and hard. Similar stalks left in a 0.15 M salt solution become limp and soft. From this we can deduce that the cells of the celery stalks are a. hypotonic to both fresh water and the salt solution. b. hypertonic to both fresh water and the salt solution. c. hypertonic to fresh water but hypotonic to the salt solution. d. hypotonic to fresh water but hypertonic to the salt solution. e. isotonic with fresh water but hypotonic to the salt solution.
  26. 26. No study technique is perfect, and you will encounter some multiple-choice questions that require critical thinking skills other than remembering, understanding, and applying. However, these are the three skills most often emphasized in introductory biology classes, so using the technique described in this presentation will provide you with a strategy that will prepare you for the majority of the multiple-choice questions you will encounter on your tests. -
  27. 27. I have two more recommendations that can help you learn the information you will need for multiple-choice tests. The first is based on the results of more than a century of psychological research on how humans learn and the second is technology-based.
  28. 28. Recommendation #1 The distributed practice effect, which refers to the benefits of spreading out study sessions over time, is one of the most reliable findings in the science of learning. If both Shuan and Dana spend 4 hours studying the same material, Shuan will retain the material longer than Dana if he distributes his practice by studying 1 hour a day for 4 days and she crams all 4 of her study hours in one long study marathon the night before the test.
  29. 29. To take advantage of the distributed practice effect, it is important to know that your job is not over when you have completed your flashcards and practiced them once. To learn the information they contain most successfully, you must use your cards as a practice test on a number of occasions separated by intervals of time. The longer the intervals between your practice tests, the longer you will retain the information you are trying to learn. This is particularly important if you need to retain information for a cumulative final exam.
  30. 30. Recommendation #2 You can create paper flashcards as I have previously suggested or you can create them digitally with the three online flashcard apps that appear on the following slide. The advantages of these apps is that they are low-cost or free, they are mobile (you can download them to your iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Android and study wherever and whenever you want), they are social (you can share your flashcards with your classmates and instructor), and one of them (StudyBlue) even enables you to benefit from the distributed practice effect by texting you “study reminders” to begin short practice tests you have scheduled to maximize your learning.
  31. 31. Quizlet http://quizlet.com StudyBlue http://www.studyblue.com FlashCardMachine http://www.flashcardmachine.com
  32. 32. This presentation is a modification of D.C. Appleby’s presentation to psychology students.

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