Examples of Using Critical Thinking and Problem Based Learning Using Technology

Example #1:
Topic: Analyzing events and sequencing of texts
Grade Level: 9-10
Common Core Anchor Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.3
Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
For this lesson, students will begin by selecting a digital text to read and analyze. These texts can be web-based or embedded into a tablet or computer. Students will read selected passages as instructed by the teacher. As the student reads through, they will use a stylist on their tablet or highlighting feature on the computer to label major and minor events of the story, accordingly. The teacher will create specific questions that require students to think critically and place on the smartboard so students can view. The questions will be created as a scaffold mechanism to assist students in analyzing the text.
Sample Questions to elicit critical thinking:
● What is the main thesis or purpose of text?
● Who are the antagonist(s) and protagonist(s) of the text? What are the trying to accomplish?
● What are the main events in the story? How does each event impact each other?
● How do the main characters of the story integrate with the main events of the text?
● Why do you think the author wrote the story in the manner that they did?
Students will also have to support all claims and interpretation with evidence from the text, and cite appropriately. Students will have the option to type their responses into their tablet or computer or audio record their thoughts using a voice memo application. Students will share their responses with another classmate and can be uploaded to the class’s learning management system. [AS8] A full group discussion can conclude the lesson.
Web-based Resources for Analyzing Text:

Example #2:
Topic: Exploring the Greenhouse Effect
Grade Level: 4th grade
National Science Standards: A. Science as Inquiry – Understanding about scientific inquiry B. Physical Science – Properties of objects and materials
For this lesson, students will begin growing seeds. Students will each get a sandwich bag, paper towels, and seeds. They will fold up the paper towel and place it in the bag. Next, they will put the seeds in the bag. Then put ¼ cup of water into their bag. The students will seal their bags and then create a house covering out of construction paper and staple their bag inside their house. The bags will then be taped to the classroom window. The teacher will use online resources and videos to share with the students regarding the greenhouse effect (substitution/modification).
To integrate technology and opportunities for critical thinking, students will share their findings each day on a class presentation software using voice-recorded messages (for example,__http://voicethread.com/__). Within the slide presentation, the teacher will provide productive questions to guide student responses such as: Describe in detail what you see within your bag? What kinds of factors seem to affect the growth of your seeds? While observing your seeds and your classmates’ seeds, what differences do you notice? Why do you think some seeds grew more than others? Why do you think some seeds did not grow at all? [AS10] Students will respond to these questions. Students can post video responses or voice responses[AS11] . Students will also respond to their classmates’ observations. (modification) After this initial voice-recorded assignment, students will be asked to work in small groups and each group will be given a different seeds (not knowing ahead of time what kind of seeds they were given). The groups will each have to catalog the growth and features of the plant to determine what kind of plant they are working with. They will also decide how to take care of the plant, observe the plant over time, and blog about their experience. Groups will present their findings to the class and they can decide on how they will present as long as they are integrating technology. For example, one group may decide to create a YouTube video and another group may create a digital resource such as a wiki or website. (redefinition) [AS12]
Web-based Resources for the Greenhouse Effect:
Learning to Give:__http://learningtogive.org/lessons/unit372/lesson1.html__
YouTube video on growing seeds –__http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d26AhcKeEbE__
National Geographic –__http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/greenhouse-effect/?ar_a=1__
Teacher Vision Resources –__https://www.teachervision.com/environmental-education/humans-and-environment/67405.html__
National Park Service –__http://www.nps.gov/ever/learn/education/curriculummaterials.htm__
EPA Student Resources –__http://www.epa.gov/students/teachers.html__
Example #3
Topic: Algebraic Reasoning
Grade Level: Preschool
In order to increase critical thinking when it comes to algebraic and mathematical reasoning for preschoolers, there are a variety of online games to use to expand on classroom lessons. One example can be found here –__http://math4children.com/games-k-to-6/Kindergarten/patterns/index.html__ (modification). In this game, students can work on teams or work individually to identify patterns. If students answer incorrectly, they are still provided another chance to get the right answer. The level of questions also increases as they answer correctly. Students should be provided opportunities to discuss their choices and share their reasoning as this will increase their critical thinking. Starfall.com provides many resources for children to reinforce their algebraic reasoning and critical thinking skills. One benefit of this website is that audio is included so students can see and hear the problem –__http://more2.starfall.com/m/math/add-subtract-demo/play.htm__?. A classroom wiki can be created and shared with families. This wiki can provide a variety of resources and games children can use to reinforce their learning. Here is an example of a wiki that was created by preservice teachers during a math methods course –__http://mathmethodsfall2014nu.wikispaces.com/__. The wiki can be set up so families/children can add their own resources or favorite games (modification/redefinition).
Web-based Resources for Promoting Mathematical Reasoning in Preschool[AS15] :
PBS Kids Preschool and Kindergarten Math Activities –__http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/math/activities/preschool-kindergarten/__
Jumpstart –__http://www.jumpstart.com/parents/activities/math-activities__
Kinderplans.com –__https://www.kinderplans.com/p/52/preschool-kindergarten-math__
Kids Learning Station –__http://www.kidslearningstation.com/__
Illuminations –__http://illuminations.nctm.org/Activity.aspx?id=3565__
NCTM resources –__http://old.nctm.org/resources/elementary.aspx__