Critical Thinking

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Critical Thinking

through the tale of

“Chicken Little”, or

“Better Thinking gives you Better Solutions”

Objectives: Critical thinking skills are important to determine reliability and accuracy of eyewitnesses, observation, and sources of information. Students use these skills to make informed critical judgments about the accuracy of various accounts of incidents.

Share the story, “Chicken Little”, with your students.
Had Chicken Little applied some of the principles of critical thinking, she might have asked herself the following questions in an attempt to examine the facts as they were presented to determine if indeed the sky was falling. First, she needed to understand the real problem.

  1. What was going on here? (what is the real problem?)

  2. What hit Chicken Little on the head? What did Chicken Little think hit her on the head?

  3. Had the sky ever fallen before? (identify assumptions)

  4. How could the sky possibly fall? What would be the natural causes? (deductive reasoning)

  5. If a piece of the sky had fallen, could she see the hole from which it fell (interpretation of the evidence)

  6. Who else might be able to substantiate her conclusions or interpret the evidence? (collect opinions and perceptions from others)

  7. I wonder what else might have been able to fall from the sky, hit me on the head and I am still living to talk about it? (evaluation of the argument)

Once the accuracy of information is determined, other questions could be asked that further use critical thinking skills:

Why did Chicken Little believe the sky was falling?

Why do you think Henny Penny and the others believed Chicken Little?

How do you think each character felt at the end of the story?

Who was responsible for the series of events?

What could have happened if any character would have used critical thinking skills?

How would that have changed the story?

“Chicken Little” can also provide a lesson about reacting to situations. Chicken Little went with an immediate emotional response instead of investigating further or giving him time to cool off before deciding how to respond. Discuss with the class how Chicken Little could change his response the next time a worrying situation arises in his life.

Some reading skills and strategies you may wish to target:

* previewing
* predicting
* establishing a purpose for reading
* sequencing
* reading for details
* posing personally relevant questions about text before and during the process
* organizing thinking using a graphic organizer
* drawing conclusions
* comparing and contrasting
* making inferences
* distinguishing between fact and opinion
* determining cause and effect
* determining character motive
* identifying, describing, and applying literary devices

* demonstrating critical listening and viewing skills

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