Critical and Creative Thinking through Space Exploration

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Judith Collison


This thesis presents a thematic approach to the study of space researchers. Active thinkers seek information as well as process exploration by providing learning experiences for students as content chosen by the teacher. This model presents the teacher as a facilitator of the individual student's quest for knowledge. Some of the most important goals of social studies in schools is to educate the students to make informed decisions, to seek the information they need to solve a problem, answer questions, to work together as a team and to promote citizenship. Thus inquiry and meaningful connections to real life are valued over the memorization of a prescribed curriculum. The curricular approach profiled here teaches fifth grade students research skills by integrating critical and creative thinking with numerous resources including text, the Internet and CD-ROMs. Central to the work is the value of teaching the students how to think rather than what to think. Research is a proactive seeking of knowledge that is steeped in inquiry. A detailed format for writing a research project on the intermediate elementary school level is included. Research skills are discussed with emphasis on critical and creative thinking. Creative thinking converges with critical thinking as the students experience the process of writing a report in social studies with special attention given to the simulated shuttle flight at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Framingham, Massachusetts and the research experience. A model is included as a visual aid to help students develop their writing skills through divergent (creative) and convergent (critical) thinking.


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