Critical Thinking Activities for High School

Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

This lesson discusses the importance of critical thinking. Read on for several suggestions for implementing critical thinking activities in the classroom.

Critical Thinking Skills are Important

One of the biggest complaints from bosses in the 21st century is that their employees cannot think critically and solve problems. With so many other subjects and objectives to cover during a typical school year, it's no wonder that students don't get to flex their critical thinking muscles as often as they should. However, one of the most important things that a student graduating from high school should leave with is the ability to think critically. After all, this skill is essential both on the job and in higher education, and its importance cannot be overlooked.

Critical Thinking Activities You Can Do Now

There are a host of activities that you can implement in your classroom today in order to help your students think critically. Below are just a few:

1. Brain teasers and logic puzzles: If you go online, you can find literally thousands of examples of brain teasers and logic puzzles that are suitable for high school students. Why not start each class with a two- or three-minute activity? Brain teasers are wonderful in that they really wake up the brain and allow students to solve problems in creative ways. In addition, having students work in pairs or groups on these activities fosters teamwork and shared responsibility (two other things that bosses like to see their employees do).

2. Offering a student's perspective: No matter what subject you teach, you can present a problem or situation and ask your students how they would have solved it. This gives students the chance to think critically to determine what they would have done differently to influence the outcome. It can be great fun in English-based classes to ask students to write alternate endings to stories they have read. Many students are not accustomed to having to think this way and may initially balk at the idea. However, with a little push and some encouragement, you will be surprised at the alternative solutions and endings they come up with.

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