Thinking Like A Scientist (TLAS) is the major focus of the Research and Outreach aspect of CIRC. This program is aimed at youth, mainly from underrepresented groups such as girls and students of color, with the primary purposes being to increase the representation of these groups in science careers and to encourage these groups to pursue a secondary education. This is achieved by training thinking and reasoning (via student-relevant science-related subjectmatter) in the scientific method about problems in everyday life (skills which are known to be related to intellectual development and success in high school and college).

To achieve this goal, CIRC has developed an extensive curriculum for the TLAS program. The curriculum consists of 13 individual, autonomous lessons which discuss the scientific method using issues and ideas which are salient to the average high school student. Each lesson is centered around six common themes:

  1. Ask: What is Science?
  2. Define the problem: See many sides
  3. Distinguish fact from opinion: What constitutes evidence?
  4. Weigh evidence and make decisions
  5. Move from science to society
  6. Revisit, reflect, re-evaluate, and review

In addition to training students to think scientifically about everyday, real-world problems, the curriculum furthers the goals of TLAS and CIRC by discussing how science impacts daily life through policy decisions. In this way students get to see how scientific findings can affect us all, thus making science more salient to students' everyday lives.

Order the TLAS Curriculum

Copies of this book-length educational program will be available in late 2005.

Currently, the program is undergoing final empirical evaluation.

Email: Wendy M. Williams at

Getting Involved in TLAS

If you are a high school science teacher who is interested in trying our Thinking Like A Scientist program in your classroom, here are a few things you should know about getting involved:

  • Upon inclusion in the program, we provide all the materials to your class, including self-contained full lesson plans suitable for students in grades 8-12, as well as three quizzes, four "Think and Write" sections, and homework questions per lesson.
  • The lessons, and your participation in the program, would not in any way conflict with your current curriculum.
  • The lessons are modifiable to meet your particular curricular and educational goals.
  • You can choose to do as many of the lessons as you wish, and in any order that you see fit.
  • We also provide assistance and support, but besides this teachers are allowed complete freedom in how they wish to implement the program.
  • In return for including your class in the program, we ask that you give your class both pre- and post-tests that measure scientific thinking in your students; we then analyze these tests in order to give you feedback on how well the program worked in your classroom.

In return for your participation in TLAS, we will also provide:

  • Stipends for participating schools and teachers
  • Assistance from advanced graduate students and CIRC Fellows
  • Results from our study at all participating schools, showing what works about our program and why

Click here to download sample lessons:

  • Effects of Violent Games: Do They Doom Kids to Mortal Kombat?
  • Will These Pills Make Me Smarter? (Gingko Biloba and Memory)
  • Self-Esteem: Does It Come From Success, Or Is It The Other Way Around?