This semester, I have been teaching a class at Tsinghua University called Critical Thinking. Over the last two months, students have been learning how to identify an argument’s pattern of reasoning, and subsequently, how to criticize it. Students have been learning about assumptions, credibility, clarification, inferences, logical fallacies, inconsistencies, and more.
Today was the summary lesson for the entire unit, and I decided to go creative on them. I pulled out the hit game Angry Birds, and used it as one big analogy for critical thinking. It was sweet.
Angry Birds, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, is a new hit game for smart phones. It involves launching three “angry birds” at a crazy structure in order to destroy it as well as the evil pigs hiding inside.
Of course, in my mind, the structure represented the argument’s pattern of reasoning, and the angry birds were symbols of the various criticisms one could level against that structure. The pigs, well, I suppose they could be metaphors for “human ignorance”, but I really just kept them in for comic effect.
It was a fun day. Now all I have to do is actually get a smart phone or tablet computer so I can play the game for real!