Problem Solving in Education:
Helping Students Learn How to Combine

Creativity and Critical Thinking

in Design and Science

by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.

This page has not been revised since January 2001. But in my main
website, these ideas are in pages that have been revised many times
since then, with more ideas, expanded and rearranged into many
pages.  Therefore I recommend reading the revised versions,
beginning with "What is a problem?" on the right side here.









  A central goal of education is to help students learn how to think more effectively.  In our efforts to achieve this goal, one valuable teaching tool is the problem-solving methods used in design and science, as represented in my models of Integrated Design Method (IDM) and Integrated Scientific Method (ISM).
    There are two objectives for IDM-and-ISM: to allow an accurate description of methods (of what designers and scientists think and do when they are solving problems) and to be useful in education. 
    And there are two parts of this website: methods for problem solving, and education.  The first part, beginning with An Introduction to Design and continuing with overviews of design method and scientific method, shows how the mutually supportive skills of creativity and critical thinking (i.e., thinking that generates and evaluates ideas) are integrated in the methods used by designers and scientists.  The second part begins with principles of goal-directed education in Searching for Insight and Aesop's Activities and continues with this page, which combines ideas from both parts of the website by exploring creative ways to use IDM-ISM in education.  I hope it will be interesting and useful for problem solvers, for learners and teachers (and this includes you, since each of us is a learner, a self-teacher, and a teacher of others), for everyone who enthusiastically appreciates the art and joy of thinking.

    The ideas in this page are shared with optimistic humility.  I'm optimistic because there are reasons to expect that IDM-ISM will help students improve their thinking skills, thereby producing life-long benefits.  But so far, this potential has not been adequately developed or empirically tested for effectiveness.  Therefore, this page should be viewed as an outline of potential applications in the future, offered with confident optimism but appropriate humility.
    I think IDM-ISM could be useful in mainstream education or by playing a functional role in "thinking skills" programs.  In either context, developing IDM-ISM and integrating it into instruction will require a cooperative effort with other educators, especially those who, compared with myself, have more experience and expertise with the principles, details, and practicalities of curriculum development.  I'm looking forward to working as part of a collaborative team.

    Recently, on June 20, I discovered a very interesting book, Design as a Catalyst for Thinking, that examines many of the ideas that are also in this paper, especially regarding a Wide Spiral Curriculum.  This book seems to be well written, with lots of excellent ideas, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they say about design and education.
    In fact, in the near future I hope to read much more widely in the area of "design methods."  The process of development has been very different for ISM and IDM.  I constructed ISM first by synthesizing ideas -- mainly from scientists and philosophers, but also from historians, sociologists, psychologists, and myself -- into a coherent system for use in education.  But for IDM there has been very little use of external sources; mainly I've just thought about the process of design, in isolation from what others have done.

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Table of Contents:
1. Contexts for Thinking
(how IDM fits into "thinking skills" education)
2. Design Before Science (the many benefits of beginning with design)
3. A Wide Spiral Curriculum (using design and science in education)
4. Coping with Complexity (some strategies for effective teaching)
5. The Challenge of Educational Design


Conceptual Evaluation of Instruction

from the "Introduction to Design" page:
What is design?  What is a problem?
Design and Science
Design before Science
Is There a Method?

from the "Aesop's Activities" page:
A Goal-Directed Approach to Education
Exploring and Improving the Structure of Instruction

  1. Contexts for Thinking

    Integrated Design Method (IDM) is a model for problem solving.  It is a simple, clearly organized framework for thinking:  IDM is an integrated system that shows how different aspects of thinking are related and how they can be effectively coordinated.  Another level of integration occurs when IDM provides a "common context" by showing that similar thinking skills and methods are used in a wide variety of activities.  If IDM is used in a wide variety of areas, then (especially when teachers call attention to the transitive logic that "if science uses IDM and history uses IDM and another area uses IDM, then the thinking methods used in science and history and the other area are related) students will recognize that much of what they are learning in one area of school can be transferred to other areas and can be used in practical real-life situations.

    comment for the reader:  The rest of Section 1 is a description of three frameworks for thinking, and a comparison of these frameworks with IDM.  I think you'll enjoy it, because it provides three fascinating new perspectives on education and connects them with IDM and with each other.  But in the hope that it will help you feel more free to look at Sections 2-5, which are much shorter, the remainder of this section has been moved to a special location after Section 5.

    If you want to continue with Section 1, there is a link to it after the next two paragraphs, which are the conclusions for two of the subsections:

    This paragraph concludes the first description-and-comparison:
  As discussed above, there is a close connection between the thinking skills and methods in IDM and in Dimensions of Thinking: A Framework for Curriculum and Instruction.  Thus, it seems likely that IDM could be smoothly integrated with the type of "education in thinking" recommended by the authors of Dimensions and by many other educators.  Because it provides a common context that is shared by many areas, the transitive nature of IDM (which connects with many areas, thus connecting them with each other) might help students understand the similarities between thinking methods in different areas of the curriculum, and might promote a transfer of skills from one area to another.

    And this paragraph concludes the entire section, after three descriptions-and-comparisons:
  This section has examined three frameworks for thinking skills and methods -- Dimensions of Thinking, Infusion of Thinking Skills, and Four Frames of Knowledge -- to show that these frameworks are compatible with IDM-and-ISM and with each other.  In fact, all four frameworks are mutually supportive, and these approaches (along with others) could be creatively blended to form a powerful cooperative team, operating synergistically to improve education both before and during instruction, in curriculum development and in the classroom.

    the full version of Section 1


    2. Design before Science
    As a concept, scientific method is more familiar than design method.  But as an activity, design is more familiar, for most students, in what they have experienced and what they can imagine doing.  Design makes a concrete connection with the past (so students can use what they already know) and the future (so they are motivated to learn skills that will help them achieve their own goals for life).  Design education also connects the past and future with the present, with activities in the classroom.
    connecting the past and present:  The framework of IDM will help students recognize the "design logic" they use in everyday activities.  This familiarity makes a Design Method seem less intimidating, when students realize they are working with methods of thinking they already know, instead of learning something new and strange.  This familiarity will help to reduce the feelings that "I can't do this," the emotionally based obstacles to learning that are caused by low self-esteem in school.  Establishing connections with the past is also pedagogically sound because, consistent with constructivist approaches to education, students can build on the foundation of their prior knowledge.  Design activities give students a chance to use what they know, to practice and improve old thinking skills, and to expand into new areas of application.
    connecting the present and future:  In design the goal can be an improved product, strategy, or theory.  Since this includes almost everything in life, students can see that design education is practical, that it will be useful in "real life" outside school, both now and in their future.  When they realize this, and if they truly appreciate the value of what they can gain, "Students will be excited about learning.  They will invest extra mental effort because they are motivated by a forward-looking expectation that what they are learning will be personally useful in the future, that it will improve their lives.  They will wisely ask, 'What can I learn now that will help me in the future?'  They will discover that thinking is fun, and they will want to do it more often and more skillfully!"  {quoted from Aesop's Activities: A Goal-Directed Approach to Education }

    connecting design and science:
    IDM and ISM have been designed to work together as a cooperative team in problem-solving education, to show the connections between design and science.  By comparing IDM and ISM, we -- as teachers, learners, and problem solvers -- can recognize the similarities and differences between design and science.  In many ways, both logically and motivationally, IDM can serve as a bridge from design method to scientific method, from design education to science education.
    To show the similarities between design and science, I have intentionally made IDM and ISM similar in content (both are based on the same logical foundation) and expression (both use similar verbal terminology and visual symbolism).  In content and expression these models are often identical, and are always similar or at least analogous.
    One set of symbols is color.  In each model, the generation of ideas (red) is guided by goals (gold) for the desired characteristics of a product, strategy, or theory.  A problem solver does mental experiments to produce predictions (yellow) and does physical experiments to produce observations (green) which are compared in hypothetico-deductive logic (yellow-green) to test a theory.  Predictions and observations and goals are compared to produce evaluative inputs (light blue) that are used in evaluation (blue).  Creative generation (red) and critical evaluation (blue) are combined in design (purple).
    There is also spatial symbolism.  For example, on both diagrams the production of predictions (by mental experiments on the left side) and observations (by physical experiments on the right side) is vertical, while the comparison of predictions with observations in a "reality check" is horizontal.  The visual logic of these diagrams, using spatial symbolism to represent conceptual relationships between thinking skills, can help students construct their own mental models of conceptual relationships.  The diagrams, functioning as visual models for thinking methods, lead to mental models for thinking methods, to help a student understand how creativity and criticality are coherently combined in the problem-solving methods used by designers and scientists.  { Of course, critical thinking is simply evaluative thinking;  criticality is not necessarily negative or "critical", and critical thinking can lead to an evaluative conclusion that is either positive or negative. }
    The similarities between design and science let us connect experiences in design (and IDM) with experiences in science (and ISM) that are similar although not as familiar.  It can be useful to view science as a specialized type of design in which the main objective is to construct an improved theory, in contrast with other types of design in which the main objective is an improved product or strategy.  {For a more detailed discussion, check an introductory comparison of design and science and (for more depth) Design and Science and Should Scientific Method be X-Rated? and Is There a Scientific Method? }
    Using IDM and ISM together can help us understand the many similarities (and the differences) between design and science, and between various types of design or types of science.  It can be useful to study both similarities and differences.  The similarities call attention to opportunities for transfer, and the differences help us appreciate the unique characteristics of each area.  When comparing areas, it can be useful to study various levels of thinking.  We can examine the individual thinking actions used in each area, and how these actions are combined into methods for solving problems.

    It is usually more effective to teach design before science, for reasons that are logical and also, as discussed below, motivational.
    Due to its wide scope, design includes future activities that every student can imagine, especially if their imaginations are stimulated by a teacher who helps them see that what they are learning in school can be used outside the classroom, that it can help them achieve their personal goals for life.
    {note: This concluding part of Section 1 will be completed eventually, but probably not before late in 2001.  If you want, you can skip to Section 4,

  3. A Wide Spiral Curriculum
    IDM and ISM, creatively combined, could be useful in a wide spiral curriculum designed to teach thinking skills.  This approach to education would have a wide scope due to a coordination of learning over a range of subject areas, including all science and some non-science areas.  It would be a "spiral" due to the distribution of learning over time.
    Learning occurs in a short-term narrow spiral when activities with similar educational functions are repeated and coordinated (with respect to different types of experience, levels of sophistication, and contexts) in one course.  If the learning experiences in this course are coordinated with those in other courses a student is currently taking, and if this wide approach continues for a long time, the result will be a long-term wide spiral.  A well designed spiral curriculum has a carefully planned sequencing and coordinating of activities within each course and between courses, in science and in other areas, to form a synergistic system (with mutual support between different aspects of instruction) for helping students learn higher-level thinking skills.
    During the process of planning a wide spiral that combines individual activities into a coordinated goal-oriented curriculum, IDM-ISM can serve valuable functions by stimulating a search for ideas and by providing a coherent structure for integrating the skills that are being learned during activities in different areas of the curriculum.  The use of IDM-ISM as a framework for analytical design and evaluation is described in Exploring and Improving the Structure of Instruction and Conceptual Evaluation of Instruction.
    The process of designing a wide spiral involves three modes of action: define goals, design activities (to provide experience), and develop methods (to help students learn from experience).  As mentioned earlier, I am optimistic about the potential for using IDM and ISM in education, but am deservedly humble about the current state of developing this potential.  Of course, any attempt to use ISM/IDM for instruction should be coordinated with the work of other educators, especially those who are devoted to the integration of thinking skills into the general curriculum, and who, compared with myself, have much more expertise and experience in this area.  For example, Marzano (1988) and Beyer (1997) have developed frameworks for the teaching of thinking, Perkins (1992) proposes "Smart Schools" that educate minds, and Swartz & Parks (1992) describe practical methods for "infusing critical and creative thinking into content instruction." {references}

    Eclectic Diversity, Central Location, and Stimulating Discussion
    The eclectic nature of ISM and IDM-ISM could help these models play a useful role in a collaborative effort among scholars.  Because ISM is a synthesis of ideas from many fields, it is centrally located at the intersection of many disciplines and the diverse perspectives they encompass.  When IDM is included, the diversity is even greater.  The centrality of ISM (and IDM-ISM) could facilitate a cooperative sharing of ideas among scholars involved in science, the study of science, and science education.  ISM can easily connect with the large amount of thinking that has been done about the methods of science and their application to education.  The widespread familiarity of "scientific method" as a concept (and of design activity as an experience) will make it easier to use ISM (and IDM) for communicating ideas.  Of course, familiarity can also lead to disagreements about assumptions and conclusions, but once these are in plain view they can become the focus for stimulating discussions among scholars and for exciting activities in a classroom.

    Following an interlude with tips for "how to cope with complexity," the discussion above (in Sections 1-3) continues in Section 5, "The Challenge of Educational Design."  {

    4. Coping with Complexity

    A. Strategies for Effective Teaching
    When a complex process (like design or science) is described in a model (like IDM or ISM) there is a tension between the conflicting criteria of simplicity and completeness.  When a model is more complete it allows a more accurate description, but the resulting complexity can make the model less useful for education if students feel overwhelmed and confused because too many concepts are presented too quickly.
    But this potential difficulty can be minimized -- thus allowing a model to be used for teaching students of different ages and experience, abilities and interests -- if the information content of the model is adjusted by simplification and enrichment.  For example, in two pages (Introduction to Design and Overview of Design) IDM is described in three different ways, using discussions and diagrams (two are shown below) that vary in detail, beginning with simplicity and building toward completeness and complexity.

    Of course, these descriptions of design could be further enriched by including more details in a diagram or discussion, or by supplementing IDM with ideas from other sources.
    To help students cope with complexity while you are helping them develop an understanding that is deeper and more complete, a useful teaching tool is an isolation that makes it easier for students to focus their attention on one part of the IDM diagram.  This can be done by using a special diagram that has one part highlighted with a white background, as shown below, or by using a regular diagram and covering everything except the part that is the current focus of attention.

    Isolations can be used in a whole-part-whole teaching method that shifts back and forth between the whole diagram and isolations.  Used skillfully, this method will help students learn more about each part of IDM and its relationship to other parts and to the whole, as they learn to understand and appreciate the organized complexity of design.  A whole-part-whole approach is useful for gradually building complexity while avoiding an information overload.  It can also help students improve their ability to interpret visual symbolism and to understand the logical relationships within complex systems of concepts.  Just as important, they can gain confidence in their ability to cope with complexity.
    Another principle for effective teaching is to use IDM in the context of student actions and experiences.  Instead of lecturing about "design method" as an abstract concept that students have little reason to care about, IDM can be an integral part of students' personal experience.  After they have worked on a design project, a teacher can help them think about what they have done, why it worked, and how they can improve it for their projects in the future.  The ideas in IDM should be connected with what students recently have experienced, now are experiencing, or soon will experience.  When a designing activity is accompanied by a reflection activity that encourages introspective metacognition, the combination is more effective than either the designing or the reflection would be by itself.  Ideally, intrinsically interesting design activities and reflection activities will be coordinated into a spiral curriculum (as discussed in Section 3) that integrates design with science (as in Section 1).
    Strategies for effective teaching -- such as simplifying and enriching, building complexity in gradual steps, showing whole-part-whole relationships, and connecting action with reflection -- are used daily by good teachers.  Effective instruction of any type requires wise "adjustment" decisions about selection and sequencing, with the goal of maintaining an appropriate pace (not too slow, not too fast) and level (not too easy, not too difficult) for the majority of students in a classroom.  The same sensitive awareness and improvising skill that allows effective teaching in other areas will also make it possible to teach effectively using IDM and ISM.  { The rest of this section is optional.  If you're interested in strategies for trying to represent a complex process in a simple model, you can read Part B below.  Or you can skip directly to Section 5. }

    B. Essential Tensions in Models
    In the early days of developing ISM, when I showed people the ISM-diagram a common criticism was that "There are too many ideas, and students will feel overwhelmed."  My response to this valid concern, which has influenced the subsequent development of ISM and then IDM, is based on three principles.  First, because the process of science is complex, an accurate model of science must be complex.  Second, a model is a simplified representation of reality, and each model contains many factors that can be adjusted in an attempt to achieve various goals.  Third, in order to achieve common educational goals we need effective teaching strategies for coping with complexity, as discussed above.  This subsection examines the second principle, the goal-directed construction of models.  Let's imagine that, in a series of case studies, we are analyzing fifty examples of problem solving across a wide range of design and science.  We will find that some core actions occur in all cases, while some auxiliary actions vary from one case to another.  If we want to construct a general model that is always applicable, we include only the core actions.  But for a model that allows a complete description of specific cases, we also need auxiliary actions.  Thus, our judgments about whether we have constructed an optimally useful model will depend on how we have defined our goals. 
    In a model, should we aim for maximum generality, maximum specificity, or an optimal balance?  And how should we define optimality?  When constructing models, it is often difficult to achieve a balance between conflicting goals and the associated conflicting criteria.  And a desirable balance varies with context.  A good balance between simplicity and completeness will be different for education in elementary school, high school, and college.  And it will differ for basic education and for scholarly research.
    {a note for the reader:  This subsection, which is being temporarily abandoned, will eventually include the following topics:  why I began with ISM and then constructed IDM;  why IDM is simpler than ISM even though design is not simpler than science;  relationships between generalizing, core actions and simplicity, and between specificity, auxiliary actions, completeness and complexity, and between all of these and the flexible improvising (like a hockey skater instead of a figure skater) discussed in the "Intro to Design" page;  viewing IDM as a "family of models" differing in level of detail;  defining "importance" in two ways, for problem solving and for education;  how generality and specificity are related to transfer of skills;  and more. }

  5. The Challenge of Educational Design
    Sections 1-4 have described IDM's connections with the work of other educators (in Section 1) and with students' past experience and future plans (in 2), how IDM-and-ISM could serve as a bridge from design to science (in 2) and could be used in a wide spiral curriculum (in 3), plus principles for coping with complexity (in 4).  I have tried to show how IDM-ISM can be used in education, either directly (during instruction) or indirectly (while planning instruction).  This section discusses a few more possibilities.

    For the design of education, challenges are posed by three practical constraints.  First, a curriculum and the accompanying instruction should be flexible so it can accommodate a wide range of learning styles and teaching styles.  Second, we should make it easy for teachers to teach well and to learn new methods quickly with a minimum of extra preparation time.  Third, if teachers feel obligated to cover a large amount of subject-area content, they may be reluctant to invest the classroom time required to teach thinking skills.  Many educators have been (and will be) struggling with ways to achieve satisfactory solutions for these problems and for other challenges.  I don't claim to have any easy answers, but the IDM-ISM system does have features indicating that it is worth exploring and developing.
    Developing a general curriculum in the culturally diverse, decentralized system of American education is especially important and difficult.  But the wide scope of design -- it covers almost everything in life! -- should help IDM connect with the experience of students (and teachers) from a wide range of sociocultural backgrounds.
    Due to the wide scope and familiarity of design, I think teachers will quickly feel comfortable with IDM.  It is fairly simple and intuitive, yet offers plenty of room for creative intellectual growth, so it should be appealing for teachers.  Even though IDM is new, it won't feel strange.  And it provides a bridge to scientific methods, making them seem more familiar and intuitive.  By helping teachers develop a more coherent understanding of design and science, the integrated structure of IDM-ISM could serve a valuable function, consistent with proposals (e.g., Matthews, 1994) that teacher education would be improved by a more effective use of insights from the history and philosophy of science.

    All educators agree that we should help students improve their conceptual understanding and also their methods of thinking.  These two types of knowledge are related, as in "theoretical thinking" that generates and evaluates concepts, and "application thinking" that requires an understanding of concepts.  But with limited time available, we cannot maximize both a mastery of concepts and a mastery of methods, so we must aim for an optimal balance.  What is this balance and how can we achieve it?  For these important questions there is no consensus of agreement, but my own opinion is that we should recognize the importance of high-quality thinking and should decide it is worth a significant investment of time. 
    In addition to special activities in which the focus is directly on thinking, teachers can make conventional activities more effective by using IDM as a tool to help students learn more from their experiences, thereby taking advantage of the many opportunities for learning that exist but are often missed.  Similarly, ISM can be used in science labs to help students be more aware of what they are doing and what they can learn.  And students' personal experience can be supplemented with stories, from history or current events, about scientists and designers.  Another option is to adopt an STS (Science, Technology, and Society) approach and to use ISM and IDM for analyzing the characteristics of science and technology, including their mutual interactions with each other and with society.


    Here is all of Section 1, in its full uncut state:

    1. Contexts for Thinking

    Two Frameworks for Thinking
    Integrated Design Method (IDM) is a model for problem solving.  It is a simple, clearly organized framework for thinking:  IDM is an integrated system that shows how different aspects of thinking are related and how they can be effectively coordinated.  Another level of integration occurs when IDM provides a "common context" by showing that similar thinking skills and methods are used in a wide variety of activities.  If IDM is used in a wide variety of areas, then (especially when teachers call attention to the transitive logic that "if science uses IDM and history uses IDM and music uses IDM, then the thinking methods used in science and history and music are related) students will recognize that much of what they are learning in one area of school can be transferred to other areas and can be used in practical real-life situations.

    To illustrate the unifying potential of IDM, we'll begin by examining Dimensions of Thinking: A Framework for Curriculum and Instruction (1988), an excellent book written by seven educators: Marzano, Brandt, Hughes, Jones, Presseisen, Rankin, and Suhor.  A summary of Chapters 1-4 and (in a little more depth) Chapter 5 will show how actions in Dimensions of Thinking are related to actions in IDM, how these two "frameworks for thinking" are compatible and mutually supportive, and how IDM could serve as a unifying structure for our teaching of thinking skills and methods:

    In Dimensions, Chapter 1 -- Thinking as the Foundation of Schooling -- emphasizes the centrality and importance of thinking in education.
    In Chapter 2, the authors define metacognition as "being aware of our thinking as we perform specific tasks and then using this awareness to control what we are doing."  { All quotations in this section are from Dimensions of Thinking. }
    Chapter 3 explains how creative thinking and critical thinking operate as a cooperative team: "They complement each other, share many attributes,... and both are necessary to achieve any worthy goal."  Creativity is "the ability to form new combinations of ideas to fulfill a need," to produce ideas that will be useful.  Critical thinking, defined broadly, is "reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do."  { It is important to recognize that critical thinking is not necessarily negative and does not always lead to criticism.  Critical thinking can also lead to an enthusiastically positive conclusion about the idea being evaluated. }
    Chapters 2 and 3 of Dimensions describe two broad functions of IDM:  to promote metacognitive "thinking about thinking" and to provide a structure that shows how creativity and criticality can be fluently combined in problem solving.

    Chapters 4 and 5 distinguish between a skill and a process: "What we call thinking skills are simpler cognitive operations such as observing, comparing, or inferring."  A thinking process "involves using a sequence of skills intended to achieve a particular outcome."  A process "orchestrates numerous skills" and is directed toward achieving an objective.  Compared with a skill, a process "is broader in scope, and takes a longer time to complete." 

    Chapter 4 describes three types of Thinking Process:  Knowledge Acquisition by Concept Formation, Principle Formation, and Comprehension;  and Knowledge Production or Knowledge Application by Problem Solving, Decision Making, Research (Scientific Inquiry), Composition ("the process of conceiving and developing a product"), or Oral Discourse (dialog).
    The essence of IDM, its main function and purpose, is to serve as a framework for understanding and mastering the applications of knowledge that occur in problem solving, decision making, research, and composition.  But IDM can also be useful in promoting the production and acquisition of knowledge, as explained in the discussion of Chapter 5 that follows.

    Chapter 5 examines 21 thinking skills in 8 categories.  After a brief description of the skills in each category (slightly rearranged by me) I'll explain how the skills in Dimensions are related to actions in IDM.
    Focusing Skills are used to stimulate and guide action "after an individual senses a problem, an issue, or a lack of meaning."  Focusing can take the form of Defining Problems (to clarify what, why, who, when,...), Setting Goals (to "establish direction and purpose") or Formulating Questions (to "clarify issues and meaning through inquiry; good questions focus attention on important information and are designed to generate new information").
    Information-Gathering Skills are "used to bring to consciousness the content to be used for cognitive processing."  The information "may already be stored, or may be newly collected."  Recalling is retrieving old information from long-term memory.  Elaborating "involves adding details, explanations, examples, or other relevant information from prior knowledge in order to improve understanding."  Observing is obtaining new information "from the environment... through one or more senses."
    As explained in an outline of IDM , the process of design begins by recognizing a problem (which, broadly defined, is an opportunity to make things better or to prevent things from getting worse) and defining an overall objective.  Following this, you can define goals for the desired characteristics of the product, strategy, or theory that is the objective.  As defined in Dimensions of Thinking, the Focusing Skills deal primarily with defining the objective(s) that will motivate and guide all actions during the process of design.
    The first action -- which begins before objectives are defined because observational information provides the basis for recognizing that a problem/opportunity exists -- is to gather information.  Dimensions emphasizes that information can be old or new.  In IDM these two ways to gather occur in the SEARCH mode (to remember old observations) and TEST mode (to produce new observations).
    In the diagram below, two skills from Dimensions (focus and gather information) are correlated with the corresponding actions in IDM (define overall objective and the four-step process of producing observations).

    Generating Skills that "add information beyond what is given" are "essentially constructive, as connections among new ideas and prior knowledge are made by building a coherent organization of ideas (i.e., schema) that holds the new and old information together."  Predicting is usually done "by assessing the likelihood of an outcome based on prior knowledge of how things usually turn out" to produce "a statement anticipating the outcomes of a situation."  Inferring involves "going beyond available information to identify what reasonably may be true. ...  Deductive reasoning is the ability to extend an existing principle or idea in a logical manner;  inductive reasoning refers to making generalizations and logical statements based on observation or analysis of various cases."
    The skill of "generate, by using logic and creativity" (from Dimensions) appears on the left side of the IDM diagram above, because predicting (in Dimensions) is the four-step process of producing predictions (in IDM), and inferring (in Dimensions) occurs in the retroductive logic (in IDM) that creatively generates a theory (by aiming for predictions that match known observations) or a product-idea (by aiming for predictions that match your goals for a product).   { Retroduction is discussed in the "Goal-Oriented Invention of Products" part of Section 2B in An Overview of Design Method. }

    Evaluating Skills are used to "assess the reasonableness and quality of ideas."  Establishing Criteria is "setting standards for judging the value or logic of ideas.  These criteria are rational principles derived from culture, experience, and instruction."  Verifying (or falsifying) can be the result of evaluating "the truth of an idea, using specific standards or criteria of evaluation."  Identifying Errors "involves detecting mistakes in logic, calculations, procedures, and knowledge, and where possible, identifying their causes and making corrections or changes in thinking."
    The action of establishing criteria (in Dimensions) is setting goals (in IDM), and verifying (in Dimensions) corresponds (in IDM) to evaluate theory and (if we stretch the scope of Dimensions to include more than just theories) evaluate product.  The action of identifying errors is implicit in IDM;  if evaluation leads you and another person to reach different conclusions, then either one of you has made an error, or each of you has reached a valid "alternative conclusion."

    The skills in the next three categories -- organizing, analyzing, and integrating -- are useful for gaining a deeper understanding of concepts:
    Organizing Skills are used to "arrange information so it can be understood or presented more effectively."  Comparing is "identifying similarities and differences between or among entities."  Classifying is "grouping items into categories on the basis of their attributes."  Ordering is "sequencing entities according to a given criterion."  Representing occurs when "a learner makes information more meaningful and cohesive" by "changing its form to show how critical elements are related."  Encoding is the process of organizing information in memory so it can be recalled.
    Analyzing Skills "are used to clarify existing information by examining parts and relationships.  A thinker can identify Attributes and Components ("the parts that together constitute a whole"), Relationships and Patterns (that can be "causal, hierarchical, temporal, spatial, correlational, or metaphorical" or...), and Main Ideas (plus key details).  When applied to a theory, analysis helps us understand.  When applied to an argument, analysis helps us think about the credibility of assumptions, observations, reasonings, and claims.
    As partners of analyzing skills, Integrating Skills involve "putting together the relevant parts or aspects of a solution, understanding, principle, or composition... by building meaningful connections between incoming information and prior knowledge, incorporating this integrated information into a new understanding."  Summarizing "is combining information efficiently into a cohesive statement."  Restructuring "is changing existing knowledge structures to incorporate new information.  Because of new insights, the learner actively modifies, extends, reorganizes, or even discards past understandings. ...  This recasting of ideas is a major part of conceptual growth, and ultimately of cognitive development."
    In IDM the focal point for all of these skills is theory, which is defined broadly so it includes organized systems of concepts in science (physical, biological, social, economic,...) and in math, business, and other areas, and also interpretations of events in real life (in current or historical situations) and in fiction.  IDM can help students understand how theories are constructed (by inference), why they are accepted or rejected (due to evaluation), and how they can be useful (for predicting) during the process of solving problems in many types of design.  Because IDM is closely related to ISM (Integrated Scientific Method) and because scientific method is the process of designing theories the potential educational value of IDM-and-ISM in promoting the learning of theories (i.e., concepts, principles, comprehensions,...) is further enhanced.  IDM and/or ISM can also help students understand the relationships between conceptual knowledge (gaining a deeper, more accurate understanding of concepts and situations) and procedural knowledge (in a wide variety of activities that include, but are not limited to, the production and utilization of conceptual knowledge).

    As discussed above, there is a close connection between the thinking skills and methods in IDM and in Dimensions of Thinking: A Framework for Curriculum and Instruction.  Thus, it seems likely that IDM could be smoothly integrated with the type of "education in thinking" recommended by the authors of Dimensions and by many other educators.  Because it provides a common context that is shared by many areas, the transitive nature of IDM (which connects with many areas, thus connecting them with each other) might help students understand the similarities between thinking methods in different areas of the curriculum, and might promote a transfer of skills from one area to another.

    A Strategy for Instruction
    A central goal of many educators is to help students learn how to think more effectively.  Robert Swartz (director of the National Center for Teaching Thinking) and Sandra Parks, in their book on "Infusing the Teaching of Critical and Creative Thinking into Elementary Instruction," emphasize the importance of thinking, and then explain their approach to instruction:
    "Improving the quality of student thinking is an explicit priority of current educational reform efforts. ...  Good thinking is essential in a technologically oriented, multicultural world. ...  Our students must be prepared to exercise critical judgment and creative thinking to gather, evaluate, and use information for effective problem solving and decision making in their jobs, in their professions, and in their lives."
    "Infusing critical and creative thinking into content instruction blends features of two contrasting instructional approaches that educators have taken to teaching thinking: (1) direct instruction of thinking in noncurricular contexts and (2) the use of methods which promote thinking in content lessons."  As in Approach #1 (but not #2) infusion lessons "employ direct instruction in the thinking skills and processes that they are designed to improve" but (unlike #1) "are not taught in separate courses or programs outside the regular curriculum." (Swartz & Parks, 1994)
    The authors also explain the difference between "methods that promote thinking... [but] remain content oriented" and methods that, in addition to promoting content learning, also use direct instruction that is designed to improve thinking.  In an infusion approach there is a dual emphasis on content and process, on conceptual knowledge and procedural knowledge, on deeper understanding and improved thinking.

    The framework for thinking skills employed by Swartz and Parks is similar to that in Dimensions of Thinking, but is distinctive in important ways.  Because it is designed to make a direct connection with teachers -- "this handbook presents a teacher-oriented approach to improving student thinking that blends sound theory and effective classroom practice" -- the overall framework in Infusion of Thinking is simpler, with three categories of skills (Clarification and Understanding, Creative Thinking, and Critical Thinking) plus two types of objectives (Decision Making and Problem Solving).  As in Dimensions, each skill category is expanded into a number of skills: in Infusion the 3 categories encompass 7 sub-categories and 16 skills.
    Overall, the coverage in Infusion is similar to that in Dimensions and IDM, but there is a difference in emphasis.  In Dimensions, for example, Creative Thinking is discussed (along with Critical Thinking) in Chapter 3, but is not explicitly included in the Thinking Methods (Chapter 4) or Thinking Skills (Chapter 5).  But in Dimensions, Creative Thinking is one of the 3 major categories that is then elaborated into skills:  Creative Thinking involves using Multiplicity of Ideas (Fluency), Varied Ideas (Flexibility), New Ideas (Originality), and Detailed Ideas (Elaboration) to Generate Alternative Possibilities, and using Analogy/Metaphor to Combine Ideas.  This explicit analysis into skills makes it more likely that, in the classroom, teachers will direct students' attention to the individual aspects of creative thinking.
    These "skills of creativity" are included in the discussions of creativity in Dimensions and IDM, but do not appear in either framework.  However, the general category of Creative Thinking is in the Dimensions framework.  And in the IDM framework, creativity occurs whenever there is a need to generate: in Generate (select or invent) Ideas for Product, Generate (acquire or construct) Product, Design (generate and evaluate) Model of Product, and Design (generate and evaluate) Experimental System.  And creativity also appears in other actions, such as Defining an Objective (in IDM) or Elaborating (in Dimensions).
    Despite their superficial differences, however, all three frameworks agree about the characteristics and importance of creative thinking (and critical thinking and conceptual learning) and all agree that we can teach these skills more effectively, and we should.

    More information about the National Center for Teaching Thinking, an organization devoted to helping teachers improve the way they teach thinking, is available at their website which includes an introduction to their teaching approach and several infusion lessons.

    Four Frames of Knowledge
    The remainder of this section, which describes another interesting approach to education in conceptual knowledge and procedural knowledge, is quoted from an early version of a proposal (Rusbult, 1996) for my Ph.D. dissertation:

    "In an effort to encourage the development of instructional techniques that will help students develop a deep understanding of content and thinking skills, Perkins & Simmons (1988) propose an integrative model with four mutually interactive frames of knowledge: content, problem solving, epistemic, and inquiry.  After describing each frame in detail, along with examples that illustrate the detrimental effects of ignoring some frames during instruction, or of treating the frames in isolation from each other, the authors -- based on their theory that "people learn much of what they have a direct opportunity and some motivation to learn, and little else" -- recommend that "instruction should include all four frames... and should involve explicit articulation by teachers and/or students of the substance of the frames and their interrelationships." .....
    Some relationships between content and process are explicitly characterized in the Perkins-Simmons model with its four interactive frames of knowledge.  In science these frames can be described in terms of thinking skills: the content frame is learning scientific theories, problem solving involves using these theories, the epistemic frame is evaluating theories, and the focus of inquiry is inventing theories.  With this formulation, one way to explicitly articulate "the substance of the frames and their interrelationships" -- and to pursue the educational benefits that may ensue -- is to show how the frames operate in the context of science.  This is what my model of Integrated Scientific Method (ISM) will do.  [note: Since my dissertation was about ISM and its use in the analysis of instruction, the focus here is on ISM, but most of what is said also applies to IDM.]
    As a way to articulate the four frames, ISM will offer two distinct benefits:
    First, the visual organization of ISM could make it easier for students to understand essential relational patterns between the four thinking frames, to literally see how details fit into the "big picture" of science; an explicit, logically organized visual model can help students construct their own mental models of science and thinking strategies (Mayer, 1993). ...  The visual representation of knowledge -- especially when it is closely coordinated with verbal representation, as in the proposed model for ISM -- can be a powerful tool for facilitating a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of conceptual organization.
    Second, although it is closely related to the four-frame model, scientific method is more familiar to scientists, study-of-science scholars, educators, teachers, and students, so it may be easier to communicate ideas effectively if they are expressed in terms of scientific method, used by itself or in conjunction with the four frames of knowledge.  This familiarity will also make it easier to connect with and to effectively utilize the large amount of thinking that has been done about the methods of science and their application to education.  .....
    ISM provides a way to explicitly articulate "the substance of the frames and their interrelationships," as recommended by Perkins & Simmons (1988).  ISM could, by its use in curriculum planning, expand the range of opportunities for student learning experience to include all four frames of knowledge; and by its direct use in the classroom, ISM could also help students learn more from their experience by explicitly directing attention to important aspects of what can be learned, thus facilitating forward-reaching transfer (Salomon & Perkins, 1989) and intentional learning (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1989).  One valuable form of learning involves metaknowledge;  ISM could help students learn more about the integrated structure of knowledge and the consequent potential for gaining new knowledge.  For example, an improved knowledge of science-as-process can be used to gain an increase in knowledge of science-as-content." (Rusbult, 1996)

    This section has examined three frameworks for thinking skills and methods -- Dimensions of Thinking, Infusion of Thinking Skills, and Four Frames of Knowledge -- to show that these frameworks are compatible with IDM-and-ISM and with each other.  In fact, all four frameworks are mutually supportive, and these approaches (along with others) could be creatively blended to form a powerful cooperative team, operating synergistically to improve education both before and during instruction, in curriculum development and in the classroom.

    { note: Sometime in the near future, this section will be expanded to include the treatment of thinking in "science standards" frameworks such as the Project 2061 recommendations developed by the AAAS. }

    This concludes Section 1 and the main body of this page.     top of page

    extra comments:  Why did I rearrange some skills in Section 1?  Although the categories in Chapter 5 of Dimensions of Thinking are logical and useful, to more clearly show the connections between Dimensions and IDM, I made five changes:  formulating questions was moved from gathering information into focusing because, like the other focusing skills, the main function of questions is to stimulate and guide action.  Originally categorized as remembering skills (which of course they are), encoding is also a type of conceptual organizing because it is used to organize concepts in memory, and recalling is a way to gather information from memory.  Because elaboration is the process of "adding... information from prior knowledge" I included it in gathering information, even though it also is a way to generate knowledge.  And although identifying errors is an analyzing skill, I moved it into evaluating because critical evaluation is the process that lets us identify logical errors.




    Conceptual Evaluation of Instruction
    The purpose of instructional evaluation is to estimate the extent to which a particular program of instruction achieves an educational objective, such as helping students improve their thinking skills.  Evaluation provides essential input for developing new approaches to instruction, and for making policy decisions about instruction.
    Of course, instructional development and policy decisions should be based on reliable knowledge, including data about instructional activities (what students are asked to do), student actions (what students actually do), and learning outcomes (what students learn).  Based on this data, an evaluation of instructional effectiveness can be mainly empirical or conceptual.
    An empirical evaluation occurs by gathering and interpreting outcome-data in order to estimate the effectiveness of a program.  Empirical evaluation can be useful, but doing it well is often difficult and time consuming.
    A conceptual evaluation is based on data about either activities or activities -and-actions.  For example, consider an extreme case where the dual objectives of instruction are to help students learn about the nature of science and improve their thinking skills, yet the activities-data shows that there is no discussion of either science or thinking, and students have no opportunities to solve problems.  Even with no outcome-data it is easy to predict that this program, due to the mismatch between objectives and activities, will not achieve its objectives.
    But real-life situations are more complex, so a conceptual evaluation is more difficult, its meaning is open to a wider range of interpretations, and its conclusions are justifiably viewed with caution.  And a conclusion may be indefinite.  This occurs when we claim to know a "necessary but maybe not sufficient" condition (such as a match between objectives and activities) that seems necessary for success, but even if this condition is present there is no guarantee of success because other conditions that also influence the outcome may be needed for effective instruction.
    Conceptual evaluation should be based on a deep, accurate understanding of instruction, and this essential knowledge base can be improved by using a coherent analytical framework, such as an activity-and-experience grid that includes IDM and/or ISM.  If ISM is useful for describing the integrated structure of scientific methods, it should also be useful for describing the integrated structure of "thinking skills" instruction in which students learn and use scientific methods.  Similarly, IDM can be useful for understanding the structure of instruction about design.


    The following excerpts are from Introduction to Design (mostly) and An Overview of Design Method (for one section):

    {imported from Introduction to Design }

    What is design?  It is the process of using creativity and critical thinking to solve a problem.

    What is a problem?  In the context of design, a problem is any situation where you have an opportunity to make a difference, to make things better.  Whenever you are thinking creatively and critically about ways to increase the quality of life (or to avoid a decrease in quality), you are actively involved in problem solving.  The overall goal of design can be a product, strategy, or theory.  Broadly defined, this includes almost everything in life.

    {imported from An Overview of Design Method }

    The "Introduction to Design" page, using my model of Integrated Design Method (IDM) as a framework, describes a general process of design, and illustrates with an imaginary situation in which the objective is a minivan, and the goals are the desired properties for a minivan.
    The process of design is also described below, more briefly and in a new way, in terms of six modes of action: DEFINE GOALS, SEARCH, IMAGINE, TEST, EVALUATE, and THEORIZE.  Initially we'll focus on the design of products, although eventually the scope of "design method" will be increased to include theories and strategies.

    A Brief Outline of Integrated Design Method

    Based on known observations (based on everything you already know about "what now is"), define an overall objective by deciding what you want to design.

    Based on a knowledge of what is, and inspired by ideas of what could be, define the goals for a product by defining the desired properties -- the composition (what it is), functions (what it does), and performances (how well it does) -- of a satisfactory product.
    These goals are the focus of action during the process of design, because goals guide the generation of ideas for products, and [as shown below] the evaluation of a potential product is done by comparing goals with predictions (from imaginary mental experiments) or observations (from actual physical experiments).

    SEARCH (gather old information)
    Usually the first step in design is to understand the current situation.  Search for old products (those now existing) that are similar to your goal product.  For each old product, gather observations that already are known, and ask "What are this product's properties, and how closely do these properties match my goals?"
    IMAGINE (generate new ideas)
    Think about possibilities for creating new products (by modifying an existing product, or...) and run "thought experiments" to predict how these changes would affect composition, functions, and performances.  Would the predicted properties of any new product more closely match your goals?
    TEST (do "reality checks")
    For each product (old or new) being considered, get the product by acquiring it (if possible) or constructing it (if necessary), design experiments that will show you its actual properties, then compare these properties with your goals.

    EVALUATE (and decide)
    The process of design requires generation and evaluation.  Each potential product (old or new, existing in the mind or in reality) is evaluated by comparing predicted properties with goals (for predictive feedback) or by comparing  observed properties with goals (for empirical feedback).  Eventually, you may find a product that satisfactorily achieves your goals, and you consider the problem solved.  Or you continue searching, or abandon the search.

    In an optional mode of action, it may be useful to do a Reality Check by comparing predictions with observations so you can evaluate your theories, to see whether "the way you think it is" matches "the way it really is."

    Design and Science {imported from Introduction to Design }
    What is the connection between design and science?  A designer is anyone who tries to improve a product, strategy, or theory.  Since the main objective of science is to improve our theories about nature, science is just a special type of design, devoted to solving one kind of problem.  But when we are studying the methods used by problem solvers over a wide range of areas, it is useful to distinguish between two types of objectives: the designing of products or strategies (which I'll simply call design) and the designing of theories (which I'll call science).

    As described above, goals and predictions and observations can be compared in three ways: two are the main strategies in design, and one is the main strategy in science.

    In science, our overall long-term objective is to search for the truth, to develop theories that are accurate representations of reality.  During this search our most useful tool is a "reality check" that compares theory-based predictions with observations.
    In conventional design, the main objective is to develop an improved product or strategy, and our most useful tools are comparisons of goals with predictions, and goals with observations.  Although in design it may be useful to get feedback about theories by comparing predictions and observations, this is not the central focus of action, as it is in science.

    Despite this difference in objectives, there are many similarities between the methods of thinking used in science and design.  In both activities, there is goal-directed action with a creative generation and critical evaluation of ideas, and mental and physical experimentation that produces predictions and observations.  Ultimately, both fields depend on observations and reality checks, but there is an important difference.  In science, observations are compared with predictions.  In design, observations are compared with goals.
    When we're searching for similarities and differences between science and design, although it can be interesting to compare science with a wide range of design fields, it seems most immediately useful to compare science with its closest cousin in design, which is engineering.  By contrast with science, which tries to understand nature, engineering tries to improve human technology.  Notice the two differences: between understanding and improvement, and between nature and technology.  But there are many interactions and overlaps between science and engineering.  The understanding gained by science is often applied in technology, and science often relies on products of technology, especially for instruments used to collect data.  And because I am choosing to define science and engineering in terms of functions, not careers, a scientist sometimes does engineering, and an engineer sometimes does science.  ..... { the discussion continues for two more paragraphs }

    Design before Science {imported from An Introduction to Design }
    An important function of education is helping students learn how to think more effectively.  In our efforts to achieve this goal, design and science -- and their methods of thinking, as represented in my models of Integrated Design Method (IDM) and Integrated Scientific Method (ISM) -- could play valuable roles.  .....
    In education, initially the logical framework of IDM will help students recognize the logic they use in their everyday "design" thinking, and will help them improve the quality of their thinking by building on what they already know.  Later, IDM can serve as a bridge from design to science, from familiar experiences in design (and IDM) to experiences in science (and ISM) that, although not as familiar, have a similar logical structure.
    To show the similarities between design and science, I have intentionally made IDM and ISM similar in content (both are based on the same logical foundation) and expression (both use similar verbal terminology and visual symbolism).  IDM and ISM have been designed to operate fluently as a cooperative team, which will make these "strategies for problem solving" more useful in education.

    Is there a method? {imported from An Introduction to Design }
    Is there a "method" in design and science, as implied by IDM and ISM?  And if a method does exist, can it be taught?  In my opinion, the answer to these questions is YES.

    My model of Integrated Design Method (IDM) is a "framework for action" that describes the activities of designers -- what they think about and what they do -- when they are designing.  IDM shows how the mutually supportive skills of creativity and critical thinking are integrated in the problem-solving methods used by designers.
    But the methods used in design (and described in IDM) are flexible, not rigid.  As an illustration, think about two types of ice skaters.  The actions of a figure skater are precisely planned and, if there are no mistakes, predictable.  By contrast, even though hockey skaters have a strategic plan, this plan is intentionally flexible, with each skater improvising in response to what happens during the game.  In IDM (and ISM) the "method" is similar to the goal-directed "structured improvisation" of a hockey skater.  It is most useful to view IDM, not as a rigid pathway to follow, but as a roadmap that shows possibilities for creatively rational wandering.


    The following excerpts are from the Aesop's Activities page:

    A Goal-Directed Approach to Education {imported from Aesop's Activities }

    Aesop's Fables are designed to teach lessons about life.  By analogy, Aesop's Activities can help students learn ideas and thinking skills.  In an Aesop's Approach to improving education, the basic themes are simple: a teacher should provide opportunities for educationally useful experience, and help students learn from their experience.  .....

    An Aesop's Approach to instructional design involves a goal-directed coordination of activities and methods, with three modes of action:  1) define goals for education in terms of the knowledge (the ideas and skills) to be learned by students,  2) design activities that provide experience with this knowledge,  3) develop methods of teaching that help students learn more by directing attention to "what can be learned" from their experience.  .....

    A goal-directed approach to instruction has two main components: activities that promote educationally useful experience (as discussed in Sections 1 and 2), and (in this section) methods that help students learn from their experience -- and remember what they have learned, and transfer this knowledge to new situations -- by directing their attention to "what can be learned" from each experience.  How?  By using reflection activities that encourage students to think about what they are doing and why, about the possibilities for learning.  .....
    In an explicit reflection activity, a teacher directs attention to what can be learned, and explains why a student should want to take advantage of this valuable opportunity.  In an implicit reflection activity, a teacher directs attention to a learning opportunity by a request for action, such as discussing a question, that shifts a student from a minimally aware "going through the motions" mode to a more aware "active thinking" mode.

    Exploring and Improving the Structure of Instruction {imported from Aesop's Activities }
    Opportunities for educationally functional experience can be analyzed using an activity-and-experience grid (as shown below), with student ACTIVITIES in the top row and thinking EXPERIENCES in the left column.

 student activities

    science experiences  # 1  # 2 # 3   # 4  # 5
   A. generate experiments        yes  yes
   B. do an experiment  yes  yes      yes
   C. use scientific logic    yes yes    yes
   D. generate theories      yes    yes

    This grid clearly shows multi-function activities (scanning vertically down the second column, we see that Activity #2 provides Experiences B and C) and repeated experiences (scanning the C-row horizontally, we see that experience with C occurs in Activities 2, 3 and 5).  A grid may reveal gaps that will guide the designing of new activities.  For example, an earlier version of this grid might have motivated a teacher, who noticed that after Activities 1-3 the students have no experience doing A, to add Activities 4 and 5.
    Of course, a "yes" does not tell the whole story.  A grid with larger cells could show more details, such as the differences between a student's experience with scientific logic in Activities 2 and 3.
    In a grid, the visual organization of information can improve our understanding of the educationally functional relationships between activities, between experiences, and between activities and experiences.  This knowledge about the structure of instruction can help us creatively coordinate -- with respect to types of experience, levels of sophistication, and contexts -- the activities that promote experiences.  The goal of a carefully planned selection and sequencing of activities is to develop a mutually supportive synergism between the activities, to build a coherent system for teaching each type of thinking skill, to produce a more effective environment for learning.


written by four authors (1998).  Design as a Catalyst for Thinking.

Marzano, R. J., R. S. Brandt, C. S. Hughes, B. F. Jones, B. Z. Presseisen, S. C. Rankin, & C. Suhor (1988).  Dimensions for Thinking: A Framework for Curriculum and Instruction.

Barry Beyer (1997).  Improving Student Thinking: A Comprehensive Approach.

David Perkins (1992).  Smart Schools: From Training Memories to Educating Minds.

Robert Swartz & Sandra Parks (1992).  Infusing Critical and Creative Thinking into Content Instruction.


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the URL of this page is
  copyright 2000 by Craig Rusbult


Aesop's Activities
Searching for Insight
An Introduction to Design
An Overview of Design Method

An Overview of Scientific Method
Design and Science (available later)
Should Scientific Method be X-Rated?
Is There a Scientific Method?

Using Labs to Teach Thinking Skills





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home-page for the National Center for Teaching Thinking
An Introduction to Infusion Instruction (Chapter 1 of Swartz & Parks)
Sample Lessons that use an "Infusion" Instructional Approach