One of the most influential books that I've ever read is titled How to Teach Thinking Skills Within the Common Core. Written by James Bellanca and his colleagues, it argues that the first step towards developing critical thinkers is to teach students explicit strategies for tackling core behaviors like "judge" and "clarify" and "interpret."
I've tried to incorporate those explicit strategies into the lessons that I am teaching to my sixth grade science students. In this lab -- which introduces students to the Law of Conservation of Energy while building pizza box ovens that can cook S'mores -- I introduce my students to the steps that good thinkers take when making determinations and evaluations.
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