Critical Thinking – Prioritization

Do your students struggle with critical thinking? Do your students struggle with, “in this situation, I will first do….? then do……? and lastly do……? What takes priority? How will I know?” If your students struggle with prioritization, then this learning activity is for you!

Provide students with a scenario. Then give each student (or a group of 2-3 students) a step/action on an index card that they need to do in relation to this scenario situation. Have them write on the back of the card why it is an important step/action. Then, have each student (or one student from each group) come to the front of the class and work together as a team to put all the cards (action/steps) in priority order. Have them face the class showing their cards (action/steps) and then have the rest of the class comment on the order and see if they agree or would change the order and why. Hopefully, they get it in the right order and the instructor provides them “kudos” —– if they do not ultimately get it correct, the instructor would rearrange and do further teaching about the correct order.

An example of how I use this in class is a patient with chest pain who is suspected of having a heart attack. I put all the priority steps the nurse should do in response to this situation, have the students write on the back why they are doing that intervention/step, and them place them in order of priority.

One thought on “Critical Thinking – Prioritization

  1. As an instructor of thinking critically and creatively, I was pleased to read your exercise in linear and sequential critical thinking — I suspect — the qualities of a critical thinker are implemented often in various and sundry ways.

    This is an example of a method I use in my TCC classes in clear thinking:

    Clear thinking, critical thinking, and clear writing
    Exercise I:
    1. Place in chronological order from most general to most specific: Sarah and Sam

    a. Decided to sell their house and move
    b. Made plans for the future
    c. Considered moving
    d. Talked
    e. Discussed their future
    f. Discussed selling their house

    2. Do the same as number one: Homer is absent because
    a. He is not feeling well
    b. He is under the weather
    c. He has an upset stomach and a fever
    d. He is nauseated and has a fever of more than103 degrees
    e. He has flulike symptoms

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