Critical Thinking Activities / Group Game: LOST AT SEA (Critical Thinking A)

Grade Levels
6th - 10th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • Zip
  • Google Apps™
80 slides, 23 pages of lesson plans, 5 pages of handouts
Includes Google Apps™
The Teacher-Author indicated this resource includes assets from Google Workspace (e.g. docs, slides, etc.).

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Help students develop critical thinking skills by prioritizing a list of 15 items to help them survive if lost at sea.

This complete lesson is FREE:

  • 80 slides,

  • 5 pages of handouts,

  • 23-page detailed lesson plan.

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Lost at Sea is a classic activity that can be found all across the Internet.

The original activity comes from PACE, which published the "Lost at Sea" activity in the public domain. 

Instead of relying solely on emotional, intuitive responses, I’ve adapted this activity to highlight the importance of criteria-based thinking (critical thinking).

Ultimately, the goal is to begin a conversation about critical thinking and how to use criteria to make informed decisions.

NOTE: This is Section A of the 6Cs Critical Thinking unit.

  • This section is part of a larger unit. As such, this product may refer to other sections and activities. 

  • All of the files you need to teach Lost at Sea are in a ZIP file.

  • The File Table of Contents PDF (in the ZIP file) contains links to get the Google Docs / Slides files.

About this resource:

✅ The slideshow lesson teaches the concepts (80 slides.)

✅ You can EDIT THE FILES to fit your classroom needs.

✅ Comprehensive lesson plan, script, and discussion questions (23 pages.)

✅ Handouts and Lesson Review (5 pages.)

✅ Use the one-click copy links (in the File Table of Contents PDF) to quickly find the files you need.

NOTE: Answers are provided in the slideshow and lesson plan script.

This resource is for:

  • IN-PERSON LEARNING in your classroom


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About the Lost at Sea activity:

The Pace website provides a variety of tools on their teamwork page: https://www.airman.af.mil/Products/PACEsetter-tools/Teamwork/

These include a series of TEAMBUILDER activities including the "Lost at Sea"activity

Information presented on AF.mil is considered public information so I adapted this activity to highlight the importance of criteria-based thinking (critical thinking) instead of just focusing on teamwork.

In the original activity:

  • Students are divided into groups. 

  • They are given a hypothetical scenario where they are on a yacht in the middle of the ocean. 

  • The yacht catches on fire and the students are given a list of 15 items that they need to rank in order of importance. 

  • Answers are given in the end. (Rankings provided by an expert, in this case, the US Coast Guard) 

The original goal according to pacesetter is a tabletop scenario designed to 

  • "help individuals work together in a time-constrained environment, 

  • collaborate on how a project should best be accomplished and 

  • experience pressure to go along with the crowd and see the consequences." 

Lost at Sea is also a fantastic opportunity to help us think more critically.

In this Educircles version, students are asked to use criteria to think more critically:

I adapted the original activity for students as follows:

  • I created a slideshow to provide a high-interest, visually appealing way to introduce and explain the activity, objects, and answers to students.

  • Each item is explained using images and words.

  • A student worksheet allows students to record their ranking based on their individual thinking, group thinking, and based on criteria.

At the end of the activity, students are asked to think about strategies that might help them to 

  • ONE: trick other people, and 

  • TWO: think about strategies that might help them to think more critically.


  • After students have had an opportunity to rank the 15 items based on their individual ideas and group ideas, students are then given the criteria that the experts used.

  • Criteria are a set of rules that we can use to help us make decisions. 

  • In this case, the criteria (according to the US Coast Guard) are to select objects that 1) attract attention to ourselves, and 2) help us to stay alive until we are rescued. 


“Version 2021-11-08” Keep It Simple, Silly! KISS update

  • Posted on TpT: Nov 9, 2021
  • Version 2021-11-08 is a significant update to try to make the 6Cs Critical Thinking product easier to use.
  • This update also fixes two errors in answers (sextant, shark repellent.)

"Version 1"

  • Posted on TpT: Aug 30, 2019
  • This version was a modified “Taste of Critical Thinking” freebie - SECTION A Lost at Sea.
  • This version included a Microsoft Powerpoint version (FILE 3a) of the slideshow, a Microsoft Word version (FILE 4a) of the handout.
  • You needed to install the free Bangers font (FILE 3c) if you didn’t already have it or the handout would look messed up.
  • The slideshow included slides 97-101 from Section B.

Please see the complete changelog for more information. It can be found at the end of the PRODUCT GUIDE (PDF).

If you have any questions, please email me at Mike@educircles.org or ask in the Questions and Answers section (on this page)!

Total Pages
80 slides, 23 pages of lesson plans, 5 pages of handouts
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 hours
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