“Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others”

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Nearly all states in the US have adopted the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice in their public schools.  Implementation is happening over the next few years.

Common Core Standard #3– which asks students to be able to “Construct viable Conversation Maparguments and critique the reasoning of others”– is the most relevant one to our work at AthenaBridge.  After all, we make our software for deliberation and critical thinking.

These critical thinking skills are essential for citizens in a modern democracy, and teaching them shouldn’t be limited to mathematics simply because the Common Core Standards place this standard there.  Critical thinking also clearly belongs in the study of history, civics, government, literature, and the list goes on.

But how about blurring the lines between subjects further?  We are facing societal challenges of increasing complexity that require interdisciplinary approaches, so our educational institutions should reflect that.

How about a French teacher collaborating with an economics teacher to create host an online debate or brainstorming session about current events with students from a school in Paris?  Sure, it wouldn’t be as easy as learning to order food in French, but it would allow for much more creative thinking– among other things, students would learn facts about a complex economic situation, how to analyze different plans, how to communicate a solution effectively, how to communicate that solution effectively in a foreign language, and what students from another country think about that same topic.

The challenges we face at a national level do not fit neatly into categories, and the lessons we teach students might be more effective if they cross over into other subjects and class periods.

What are some innovative techniques you’ve seen to blur the line between subjects?  What the best ways to get students engaged in a critiquing the reasoning of others, whether it is inside or outside the math classroom?

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