Visual Thinking- Visual learners utilize the right hemisphere of the brain to mentally manipulate shapes. Students must utilize different perspectives, recognize patterns, and use clues to solve problems. The eyes and brain must work together. Examples of visual thinking activities include shape puzzles (tangrams, pentominoes), tessellations, visual analogies and visual cryptography.
Convergent Thinking- Convergent thinking utilizes deductive reasoning and analysis. Students put together many pieces of information to arrive at one correct answer using clues. They come up with a conclusion based on the arrangement of information, a left hemisphere task. Convergent thinking requires the use of a systemized approach to patience and reflection. Examples of convergent learning experiences include logic grids, Venn diagrams and mysteries.
Divergent Thinking- “Thinking outside of the box”—Creative Thinking. A divergent thinker comes up
with as many solutions as possible. The right brain is dominant in divergent thinkers, and it is associated with creativity. Albert Einstein was a divergent thinker. Divergent and convergent thinking are interrelated and are both essential elements of critical thinking. Examples of divergent thinking include brainstorming, mind mapping, free writing, story telling using a thought stem, and word play.
Evaluative Thinking- The thought processes involved in evaluative thinking include judging, valuing and
justifying choices to find the best answer. Students must use logic, be willing to consider multiple viewpoints, give and defend their opinions and offer unique solutions in order to judge the best answer. Evaluative thinking involves bi-lateral processing (right and left brain coordination). Examples of evaluative thinking include problem-solving matrices, criteria charts, and decision making activities that require students to defend their choices.
Wording is adapted from “Primary Education Thinking Skills 3” c.1998, by Nichols, Thomson, Wolfe, Merritt.