This past weekend, I watched (with sentimental pride) as my own son did the exact same thing. And then a thought hit me. What a minute! All of this categorizing and organizing...this is analytical thinking. This is Sybil the Scientist's type of thinking!
Now you may be asking "Who is Sybil the Scientist?" Sybil is a friend from Crystal Pond Woods in the Primary Education Thinking Skills (PETS) lessons. I teach our first, second, third and some fourth graders about Sybil and her analytical thinking. We have been concentrating on analyitical thinking over the past two weeks in second grade.
Sybil the Scientist and analytical thinking are very logical. Sybil is not creative and does not use her imagination. Instead, Sybil observes the world around her using her five senses. What is she looking for? Attributes, of course. Attri-what? Attributes.
Attributes are the characteristics that everything in the world has. Attributes make things what they are. Size, color, shape, texture, pattern, taste...these are all different types of attributes. In analytical thinking, the common attributes that things share are used to place them into groups. In science, we call this classifying.
In the PETS story that I have shared with the second graders, Sybil taught Dudley the Detective how to classify his favorite building blocks. He learned that that the blocks had the attributes of size, shape and color. He used the attributes of small, square and red to classify the blocks into different groups. Sybil also taught him to use a Venn Diagram to organize the blocks into these different groups. In the end, Dudley was able to classify the blocks into eight different groups: 1) small, 2) red, 3) square, 4) small and square, 5) small and red, 6) red and square, 7) red, small, and square, and 8) not red, not small, and not square. Also, the students learned that group #8 are called outliers because they do not fit into any of the categories. I will save the Malcolm Gladwell book for another lesson. :)
Who knew that I was training for my future of teaching analytical thinking when I was sorting candy as a kid? Which must mean eating all of my child's candy as an adult should be helping me become a better teacher, right?