In the numbered groups, have students facilitate a conversation while others on the outside observe without comment.
(For example, a teacher may have all 1s go to the fishbowl, while the rest of the class sits in the outer ring.) Once the inner group has discussed for a bit, have the outer group evaluate two things: Their process is they actually listened to one another and their content from knowing whether they are providing evidence or just opinions.
This open-ended concept is simple and serves as an excellent segue into problem-based learning.
Challenge students to identify and cooperatively solve a real problem in their schools or communities.
Also engaged in this skill, it is important to understand that students do not always end with a right answer, but instead sometimes ends in more questions or differing evaluations of the topic. You can recycle this activity throughout the year by adapting the challenge or materials to specific content areas.
Below are some activities recommended for teachers that they can implement in the classroom to help students develop critical thinking skill and prepare them for a better future. You simply have to divide students into teams and give them equal amounts of a certain material, like pipe cleaners, blocks, or even dried spaghetti and marshmallows. The challenge can be variable (think: Which team can build the tallest, structurally-sound castle? Apart from critical thinking students also learn to collaborate and to work in groups.
You may set the parameters, including a time limit, materials and physical boundaries.
Students are shown a picture, projected in the front of the room, if possible.
In the middle of the page students write down all of the steps they took to arrive at that answer.
Students are encouraged to write down the evidence they see that supports their conclusion.