On July 28, 2014, students attending the Junior Statesmen of America’s Gene Burd Symposium on Media & Politics at UCLA took part in our 90-minute critical thinking seminar. Before and after the session, students were asked "Are social networking sites good for society?” The difference in their votes helps prove that critical thinking can actually change minds.
120 high school students
3 staff and 1 intern
180 minutes of footage
6:17 video created
—LESSON PLAN IDEA FOR EDUCATORS—
OVERVIEW: The seminar revolves around a hotly debated topic, such as the pros and cons of social networking or illegal immigration. The students analyze several expert quotations, both pro and con. They work together in small groups and engage in a large-group discussion, offering their interpretations and criticisms of the quotes they have read. A rapid-fire brainstorming session follows, during which they build their own lists of pro and con arguments. The impact of the seminar is exemplified by a "before and after" vote on the chosen topic. Students frequently change their positions in the second vote, demonstrating their careful reflection on the arguments from both sides.
HANDOUT: The 2-page seminar handout includes all the information necessary for teachers to present the program to their own students, including pro and con quotations and a detailed outline of the 90-minute session.