by William O'Meara and Daniel Flage
The James Madison Critical Thinking Course engages children in captivating crime-related scenarios to develop essential critical reading and reasoning skills. These lessons and activities are carefully designed to transfer these vital skills throughout a child's academic and external life. The easy-to-read, easy-to-follow activities teach children to identify and evaluate evidence to help guide their decision making
The James Madison Critical Thinking Course teaches more than 65 critical thinking related skills and concepts that will improve academic performance across the curriculum:
Interpret and apply complex texts, instructions, illustrations, etc.
Recognize and clarify issues, claims, arguments, and explanations
Distinguish: conclusions, premises (reasons), arguments, explanations, assumptions (stated/unstated), issues, claims (statements), suppositions, unstated conclusions, unstated premises and implications
Recognize ambiguity and unclearness in claims, arguments, and explanations
Distinguish necessary and sufficient conditions
Describe the structure or outline of arguments and explanations: confirmation, disconfirmation
Evaluate whether an inductive argument is strong or weak
Evaluate claims and arguments in terms of criteria such as: consistency, relevance, support
Evaluate analogical arguments and inductive generalization arguments in terms of criteria, such as: the greater the number of similarities between the conclusion and the premises regarding the sample, the stronger the argument
Assess the relevance of claims to other claims, and to questions, descriptions, representations, procedures, information, directives, rules, principles, etc.
Evaluate whether a deductive argument is valid or invalid (logical form): categorical, truth-functional, and semantic/definitional
Distinguish supporting, conflicting, compatible, and equivalent claims, arguments, explanations, descriptions, representations, etc.
Identify and avoid errors in reasoning, informal fallacies: begging the question, equivocation, post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after that, therefore, because of that), false dilemma/false dichotomy fallacy (line drawing fallacy, perfectionist fallacy), smoke screen/red herring/rationalizing, hasty generalization, appeal to ridicule/sarcasm, ad hominem fallacy (personal attack, poisoning the well), appeal to illegitimate authority, loaded question, evidence surrogate, stereotyping , appeal to consequences (favorable or unfavorable), "wishful thinking", genetic fallacy, biased generalization, anecdotal evidence
Discern whether pairs of claims are consistent, contrary, contradictory, or paradoxical
Grade Level: 7th Grade - 12th Grade