~~~~~> Advice Needed
Posted: 12 November 2011 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I am a new parent of a 12 year old boy. I would like him to start thinking critically but I do not have a clue on how to teach this to a child. Are there any books, activities and or exercises that may help?

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Posted: 12 November 2011 01:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m sure others will have better ideas than I, but if he’s ready for a good book, Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science or Sagan’s Demon Haunted World are great places to start. Gardner’s book is one of the first and best of real skepticism. It’s basically a number of separate essays, each one taking on a different bit of woo. Sagan’s is a bit more advanced, IMO, but also broader in scope.

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Posted: 12 November 2011 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Richard Dawkins just came out with a new book for kids called The Magic of Reality.

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Posted: 12 November 2011 03:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Pragmatic Naturalist - 12 November 2011 03:10 PM

Richard Dawkins just came out with a new book for kids called The Magic of Reality.

It’s not for kids.

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Posted: 12 November 2011 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Although he may be a bit old for them, I suggest the Alice in Wonderland books and the Magic Tollbooth, all of which very subtly present C.T. fallacies for kids to catch and get a kick out of.  Another would be to pick up some kids’ puzzle books (not just math ones) and work with him to solve them since the puzzles are often based on hidden fallacies that one has to figure out.

Occam

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Posted: 12 November 2011 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Silence820 - 12 November 2011 01:09 PM

I am a new parent of a 12 year old boy. I would like him to start thinking critically but I do not have a clue on how to teach this to a child. Are there any books, activities and or exercises that may help?

I suggest you first take the time to bond with him and form shared interests. You can show by example, before you try to introduce reading materials to him. Otherwise, you may just get a rebellion on your hands.

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Posted: 12 November 2011 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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asanta - 12 November 2011 07:03 PM
Silence820 - 12 November 2011 01:09 PM

I am a new parent of a 12 year old boy. I would like him to start thinking critically but I do not have a clue on how to teach this to a child. Are there any books, activities and or exercises that may help?

I suggest you first take the time to bond with him and form shared interests. You can show by example, before you try to introduce reading materials to him. Otherwise, you may just get a rebellion on your hands.

Yes, visits to the zoo, planetarium, science museums, DVDs on the Universe, sitting on the porch watching the stars, all those can be great things to share while bonding. Once the boy shows interest in a particular subject, get him the books.

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Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

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Posted: 12 November 2011 10:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I think asanta and Write4U have the best ideas and what better way to bond with him than to take him to places like the planetarium, zoo, and science museums.  I can’t think of any other way to do both things at once.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 13 November 2011 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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It depends, is the child showing signs of paranormal gullibility?  If so, then there isn’t much you can do to stop it.

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Posted: 13 November 2011 07:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Of course, another great idea is to sit down with him and watch Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series. If that doesn’t get him interested in science (and in critical thinking, which is subtly part of the show), he’s not ready for it yet.

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Posted: 13 November 2011 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I would take a more interactive approach. Ask him if he would like to make something. Build a model airplane or model ship? A computer game? A little robot that rolls around on the floor? Something electronic? Maybe just something pretty. He has to decide the goal, not you. He will probably set an overly ambitious goal. Guide him through the design process: breaking it down into steps, figuring out what is required at each step, specifying what he’ll have to teach himself, making a plan for executing that step. The critical thinking part comes when he makes a mistake and you socratically help him figure out why he erred. If you challenge him to explain his reasoning, he’ll discover flaws in his reasoning all by himself—much better than merely telling him.

Don’t let the fact that you don’t know how to do it stop you. You can learn along with him—that makes it more of a cooperative effort than a dictated one. I can comment on most of the projects that a 12 year old kid might concoct. Almost anything will cost some money; take your budget into account. Good luck.

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Posted: 13 November 2011 11:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Chris Crawford - 13 November 2011 10:14 AM

I would take a more interactive approach. Ask him if he would like to make something. Build a model airplane or model ship? A computer game? A little robot that rolls around on the floor? Something electronic? Maybe just something pretty. He has to decide the goal, not you. He will probably set an overly ambitious goal. Guide him through the design process: breaking it down into steps, figuring out what is required at each step, specifying what he’ll have to teach himself, making a plan for executing that step. The critical thinking part comes when he makes a mistake and you socratically help him figure out why he erred. If you challenge him to explain his reasoning, he’ll discover flaws in his reasoning all by himself—much better than merely telling him.

Don’t let the fact that you don’t know how to do it stop you. You can learn along with him—that makes it more of a cooperative effort than a dictated one. I can comment on most of the projects that a 12 year old kid might concoct. Almost anything will cost some money; take your budget into account. Good luck.

Thank you very much; this is the best reply that I have received. I will ask him today what project he would like to do.

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Posted: 13 November 2011 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Write4U - 12 November 2011 10:02 PM
asanta - 12 November 2011 07:03 PM
Silence820 - 12 November 2011 01:09 PM

I am a new parent of a 12 year old boy. I would like him to start thinking critically but I do not have a clue on how to teach this to a child. Are there any books, activities and or exercises that may help?

I suggest you first take the time to bond with him and form shared interests. You can show by example, before you try to introduce reading materials to him. Otherwise, you may just get a rebellion on your hands.

Yes, visits to the zoo, planetarium, science museums, DVDs on the Universe, sitting on the porch watching the stars, all those can be great things to share while bonding. Once the boy shows interest in a particular subject, get him the books.

Beautiful suggestions, as was Chris’.

Also, please don’t forget to Listen to what he says to you.
Be cautious of talking AT him.

Another thing I might add is be aware of ‘teaching moments’ when he’s open to listening to new stuff… that can’t be done on a schedule.

Best of luck,
you have a mighty challenge, at twelve he’s nearly developed already, you’ll never make anything new of him, only be able to work with what is already there, hoping to direction it down constructive productive avenues.

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Posted: 14 November 2011 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Chris has it on the nose!  Active, not passive learning is what will motivate him. Building models, scientific experiments (there’s all kinds of kits out there) visiting museums in your area and taking field trips will stimulate him to ask WHY? That’s the beginning of learning. It also depends on how he views religion in general. An open minded parent has a great effect on a child. The opposite is definitely true as well! Above all, stress reading, reading, reading!!!

Cap’t Jack

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One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

Thomas Paine

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