Critical thinking in children: Are we teaching our kids to be dumb?
Our students rely on four computational thinking skills, as well as a set of essential attitudes. Students demonstrate algorithmic thinking whenever they create or use a well-defined series of steps to achieve a desired outcome. Students practice the algorithm for Punnett squares by refashioning themselves as cartoon babies, meticulously crossing their genotypes to create endless generations of children. Decomposition means breaking down a complicated problem into its components and working on one component at a time. In our seventh-grade humanities class, students dissect the American criminal justice system, identifying problems and proposing solutions that better represent a fair and balanced system. With the power of decomposition, problems that seem overwhelming at first become much more approachable for students.
Young people often want to hurry up and make meaning via a quick skim or a cursory glance when a text can demand patience and focus. Closely reading any text, whether written or visual, requires that students proceed more slowly and methodically, noticing details, making connections and asking questions. This takes practice. But it certainly helps when students want to read the text. Below, we offer ideas from students and teachers who have engaged with these images for ways to use them, or images like them, to teach close reading and visual thinking skills.
Critical thinking questions for kids engage their imagination and analysis skills. Kids' critical thinking skills develop at different ages, so keep in mind your child's developmental age when choosing questions that challenge their logic and reasoning. Critical thinking is essentially the ability to find information and use it to make sense of something. When kids think critically they can analyze data, compare and contrast things, and make decisions based on the information they have. It's more than just learning to solve problems, it's understanding how to solve problems in different ways.