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Abstract

Is there water on Mars? Gifted adult graduate students, some of whom represented the learner exceptionalities of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Slow Information Processing Speed, were asked to explore this mystery by applying Edward de Bono’s CoRT thinking skills of “Aims, Goals, and Objectives,” “Select,” and “Planning” to photographs of Mars landforms. Once they had determined the likelihood that the pictures depicted water on Mars, students were asked to develop three-dimensional models with recycled materials. Analysis of the findings revealed that in utilizing the de Bono CoRT thinking skills, students were able to identify sixteen different categories. Student responses had three similar themes. The first theme was “whether the land mass had the characteristics of water,” the second theme was “similarities to areas on Earth,” and the third theme was “conducting research in books and journals.” Following analysis of the question, “Is there water on Mars?” all students expressed their beliefs that the photos depicted water on Mars. Students in the class provided the following as their reasons for this conclusion: the photograph had “characteristics of water,” the photograph had “similarities to land masses on Earth,” and the photograph reinforced “research supporting the presence of water on Mars.” Student confidence and engagement in the lesson increased with the use of both the de Bono CoRT thinking skills and hands-on learning.

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