Fascinate them with the weird stuff! Telepathy! Clairvoyance! The Paranormal! Parapsychology is an ideal topic for sparking debate and inspiring critical thinking among high school students. For some it stokes the imagination, for others it fires their skepticism, but it seems to be fascinating for all. I use these activities as part of my Introduction to Psychology unit at the start of the year, partly because it grabs their attention and partly because it brings up vocabulary and ideas that will be useful throughout the rest of the course. These include concepts related to the scientific method, as well as questions concerning the boundary between reality and fantasy, the bias or integrity of researchers, and the very purpose and limits and scientific inquiry. As a topic it is fertile with unexpected teachable moments. It can also just be a lot of fun.
The package includes: a well-written and well-researched 2-page article on parapsychology and the paranormal, which forms the basic text of information used by the accompanying activities; worksheet of questions to accompany the article, including items for comprehension as well as critical thinking; vocabulary sheet that serves as both a pre-quiz and student reference list; E.S.P. application worksheet; personal written response assignment to probe students’ individual experiences; classmate-interview guide worksheet to get the kids talking with each other and comparing their views on the topic; recommendations for documentaries available on YouTube with accompanying question sheets; essay assignment for closure; and Teacher’s Guide Sheet to help you get the most out of the package.