Building Background Knowledge and Using Animations: A Pathway to Critical Thinking in a Science Classroom
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The cognitively demanding tasks involved in critical thinking require more ‘space’ in students’ working memory. Research supports the theory that when basic procedural, structural, or content vocabulary is transferred from working memory to long-term memory, it frees up ‘space’ in students’ working memory. If successful memorization helps bridge the gap between surface level and deeper understanding (i.e., critical thinking), then teachers should utilize strategies that improve student memory. This action research project was conducted in an advanced biology class in southern California and focused on developing students’ critical thinking skills through building background knowledge and connecting concepts using animations. Teacher observations and formative assessments suggested that students were more actively engaged and worked through assignments more successfully than before the intervention.
Bremner, D. & Devers, C. (2012). Building Background Knowledge and Using Animations: A Pathway to Critical Thinking in a Science Classroom. In P. Resta (Ed.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2012 (pp. 4504-4509). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved December 6, 2013 from http://www.editlib.org/p/40321.
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