Breaking The Cycle: Promoting Critical Thinking In ChildrenPosted by Phil Ferguson on May 6th, 2012 – 18 Comments – Posted in Uncategorized
Do you think the world would be a better place if more people were critical thinkers?
If you do – what are you doing about it?
It is great to have meetings and share drinks in a bar but, you need to get out there and help people. You must do something! The forces of woo are strong and spend a lot of time and money selling their lies. Confusion can be very profitable to those that are morally challenged.
There are many groups, local and national that are doing great work and helping educate people. However, we need to do more is with young adults and children. It can take years of effort to help a 40-year-old free their mind from a life time of sloppy thinking. With a kid you may only need a spark.
I call this “Breaking The Cycle”.
Yes! I am suggesting that we free the minds of kids. We need to fight back, we need to do a better job, we need to get to the kids! Use the simple ideas below to help your kids, grand kids, younger siblings, nieces, nephews, your kid’s friends or your friend’s kids. Do not be afraid to fight back. The world needs your help.
Keep in mind your relationship with the kids and / or their families. Do as much as you can and push the limits but, don’t over do it. You don’t want others to take away the only sane voice the child may have.
Ideas to promote critical thinking in children.
Fun With Science
Teach them about science and the scientific method in fun ways. Steve Spangler Science is a company that makes fun science toys and games. Use them to create a party theme or give them as gifts. At one party we used these really cool beads (photo left) that are all white in house lights but turn different colors in the sun or a black light. The kids made friendship bracelets and we talked about UV light from the sun and then had some fun with a black light. The kids loved it and the learned some cool science.
Here is another cool idea from Steve Spangler Science….
They set the World Record for the worlds largest science lesson.
Please don’t sit them on the couch and force them to watch it.
Make it fun! Create an environment where they can play in the same room while the shows are on. Don’t push or they will push back. Just let it soak in. Let them associate science with play time.
How can you go wrong with a show that is designed to show you how to find real answers to the things that go bump in the night. (I guess it is just the old Scooby Doo – I have been informed that the new ones are not as good.)
This show changed my life but is look VERY dated.
Coming Soon…. The NEW Cosmos staring – Neil deGrasse Tyson (Squeeee)
My favorite is Greek and Roman but, you can teach about Norse myth or any other. My son just won a state wide contest on mythology – Yeah! You can try books like the one shown on the right for younger kids or you can get movies like:
Here is the trailer for Agora….
There is so much great skeptical music out there. Here are just a few….
Tim Minchin – Storm
Shelley Segal – Saved
George Hrab – Skeptic
Roy Zimmerman – Creation Science 101
Mentos & Diet Coke
Again…. Make science FUN!
JREF In The Classroom (thanks to DJ for the reminder)
JREF In the Classroom is the centerpiece of our work to bring skepticism and critical thinking to K-12 students. The program will give educators access to a growing catalogue of grade-specific standards-focused resources including lesson modules, activity guides, multimedia materials, and more.
Participating educators promote critical thinking, science appreciation, and information literacy, and help students understand the need to critically examine unproven claims.
Students will gain an intellectual toolset needed to succeed in school and better navigate a life full of difficult decisions, confusing information, and conflicting claims. Best of all, the material examines fascinating topics like the paranormal and extraordinary claims from the fringes of science, while remaining relevant to other classroom content and addressing expected educational standards.
They may also like this video that shows how hard it is to pay attention to little details.
There are also many books about optical illusions. Just like some of the other points above they will have fun while learning that they can be tricked. Just stare at this image and watch the wheels turn!
There are so many books that can help free kids’ minds. Start with something simple and fun like Daniel Loxton’s new book “Ankylosaur Attack“. (shown on right) If that goes well you can try his wonderful book “Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be.”
Another great book about the world is Dawkins’ new one called “The Magic Of Reality“. “Bang!: How We Came To Be” from Michael Rubin is another good choice. If one or both of the parents are free from religion you could give them Dale McGowan’s “Parenting Beyond Belief”.