This practical book outlines how you can challenge students to grapple with complex problems and engage more meaningfully with information across the content areas, rather than rely solely on rote memorization and standardized testing to measure academic success. Author John Barell shares vignettes from effective middle and high school teachers around the country, analyzes what works and what doesn’t when encouraging students to dig deeper, and offers practical strategies that you can try in your own classroom.

Topics include:

  • Guiding students to hone their skills in abstract reasoning, inquiry, creative problem solving, and critical thinking;
  • Designing your lessons and units for authentic achievement, to prepare students for success in their future careers and academic pursuits;
  • Using rigorous benchmark assessments to analyze students’ progress in meaningful ways; and
  • Encouraging students to set learning goals and drive their own achievement.

Aligned with the Common Core and other standards, this book will help you teach students to become inquisitive, engaged citizens who wonder about the universe, stretch their imaginations, and solve problems by asking, What If?

chapter 1|12 pages

Teachers as Argonauts of Change

chapter 3|14 pages

Developing Abstract Reasoning

chapter 4|15 pages

Directing Goals toward Achievement

chapter 5|16 pages

Enhancing Inquiry—The Essence of Life

chapter 6|11 pages

Modeling—How We All Learn

chapter 7|19 pages

Nurturing Imaginative Behavior

part |2 pages


chapter 8|14 pages

“Any Citizen Can Make a Change”

chapter 9|19 pages

Playgrounds of the Mind

chapter 10|19 pages

Critical Thinking about Social Issues

chapter 11|20 pages

Reasoning about Nature

chapter 12|7 pages

Independent Study

chapter 13|12 pages

Rude Awakening for Professional Development

part |2 pages

Final Words

chapter |7 pages