Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Elementary, My Dear Watson" - My First Logical Thinking Class

It's been ages since I've blogged here, I got caught up by a wicked current in the stream of life.... I'm hoping for a smoother sail in the coming future. Still, I had to share this with the people I knew would understand the most, my faithful readers.

I've started teaching a class about the Thinking Processes in my boys' school. It is a democratic school and the children choose which classes to attend. I have around 7 elementary school boys in my class, including my younger son. They are all, it seems to me, in 4th and 5th grades. Last Friday was our 3rd lesson and for the first time I could say it was a good one. Yep, I had a few false starts until I got the feel for my "customers". I have learnt the hard way that with this group I can't, at least at this time, teach them. I have to let them learn. If I stand there and talk to them, explaining my head off, they just get board. Since this is a democratic school they will then choose to stop attending the class, and I wouldn't fault them. Instead I have to create an environment or situation where they generate the learning and enjoy it.

Well, this last lesson was their first introduction to logic. I had planned to use this small section of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Dancing Men" Sherlock Holmes mystery.


Initially I was going to read the section with them and then analyze it. After 2 sessions with the group it was clear to me that a new approach was needed. I created a detective game. I took the facts Holmes presents and created 'clue cards'. Each boy got a clue card and they had to figure out which clue was related to which. I stood at the board and wrote the tree as they figured out the logic. I knew I got it right when they started asking questions, trying to understand where all of this fits into "real life".

I gave them homework to try and find causal (If...Then) relationships in their everyday life.

Check here how things turned out


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