Here we offer a range of resources designed to make teaching critical thinking interesting, educational and fun. If you come across anything you think we should have here, please let us know.

Teaching Critical Thinking

The NZ Skeptics are developing a set of resources based on entries to our Teaching Critical Thinking competition. These are designed to be easily used in the classroom, with clear indentification of links to the curriculum. Students and parents are more than welcome to use them as well.

Any feedback on the resources would be most appreciated. Keep an eye on this page to see more material go online.

The Moa Myth, by Simon Green, winner of the 2003 Teaching Critical Thinking competition (694 KB PDF file)


Testing Astrology

http://astrosociety.org/education/astronomy-resource-guides/
or
http://www.astrologer.com/tests/experiments.htm

These activities help students to understand the difference between science and pseudoscience by investigating some of astrology’s claims.


The Face on Mars

http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/teachers/tg/program5/5.2.html

This activity uses the face as a way to dramatize the kind of image interpretation planetary geologists must do to account for illumination angles before they can determine surface structure. Armed with experience in image analysis, students (and their parents) can better make up their own minds about the face, the pyramids, the library and other fabulous monuments on Mars.


The Great Moon Hoax

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/photogalleries/apollo-moon-landing-hoax-pictures/.html

So did we really get to the Moon or not? Here’s a useful rejoinder to the “documentary” shown twice by TV3.


Deep Time Activity

http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/deep.les.html

Worksheets and teaching material to look at the age of the Earth and how it has been determined.


Genetic Modification

Since the discovery of DNA, the resultant pace of genetics research has generated a variety of issues that have provoked much social comment. Recent decades have seen the application of genetic research into two main areas of our lives: food and medicine. Both areas generate questions and debate about the ‘right’ we may or may not have to pursue these types of research. There has also been a corresponding increase in the level of public interest in the use of scientific research. The availability of information for public consumption on many of these issues has, however, often been less than consistent, balanced or without bias.

This resource for Year 10 classes is set within the context of the controversy surrounding the introduction of genetically modified (GM) crops and approaches this debate in such a way as to help develop those skills and attitudes that allow us to construct an informed, reasoned viewpoint. It is also intended that the skills that will be learnt will be readily transferable to any issue requiring critical thought, be it cloning, sewage treatment, transport, or any of the myriad of issues that face people.

This resource has been written in such a format as to provide templates to facilitate learning about the processes of critical thinking. It has been produced with Year 10 pupils in mind, but could be easily used with young people at any level above NCF Level 3. Copies have been supplied to HoD Science and HoD English at all New Zealand schools with Year 10 classes. Further copies may be obtained from:
Dr Jack Richardson, Executive Director, Agcarm Inc., P.O. Box 5069, Wellington
Fax: 64 4 499 4223; Email: [email protected]; or from:
http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/teaching-learning/resources/gamma/genetic-engineering-off-the-field/
or
http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/teaching-learning/resources/gamma/genetic-engineering-and-ethics/