Critical Thinking in Today’s Life

Sanjana Shah, Girls Innovate! Teen Committee
ThinkImagineProgram (Session 1)

“Imagination is the beginning of creation.” George Bernard Shaw

There were about 42 young women in the room, from different backgrounds, age groups, and cultures, who shared a common goal – to think, imagine, and program. Today, critical thinking and problem solving skills are essential for our success and touch every aspect of our daily life. Being a 12 year old middle school girl, I believe it is beneficial to get a head start on these skills early.

I decided to start this blog to show girls how important it is to lead and participate in programs like ThinkImagineProgram, which lays foundation in the field of STEM. As a mentor of this program, my role is to enable an engaging atmosphere and help remove frustration that often accompanies any programming course.

We started off the first session with a Tic Tac Toe game and played it against few other participants. It was fun to see how some of the girls were developing their strategies to win the game. Though the game is pretty simple, it involves thinking ahead and trying to figure out what your opponent’s next move might be. One may not win, but at least she would have learned a new strategy to win the next game.

The Tic Tac Toe activity was followed by another interesting game, where the participant was supposed to ‘Find the Bug.’ I tried to do this myself. The error was so simple, but it was easy for the human eye to miss. The key was to slow down and focus.

Then came the ‘Humans Follow Humans Instructions’ activity, in which the participants were supposed to act out the instructions created by other participants. This activity was quite hilarious and taught us that much confusion can be caused without clear and precise instructions. This reminded me of a known quote from Charles Kettering, “A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”

Last but not the least was the ‘Guessing Game’ activity, where one had to choose the number between 1 and 64 and the other participant guessed the number. In reality, this game teaches us the concept of binary search algorithm, which is the fundamental algorithm in computer science.

I really enjoyed this first inspirational session of ThinkImagineProgram. I am looking forward to mentor the whole series and share my experiences with you in the upcoming months. Critical thinking is a skill that is impossible to teach directly and this course intertwines it with the content. As William Ward once said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”

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