Honors Senior Theses/Projects


Malia Allen

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Exit Requirement

Undergraduate Honors Thesis/Project


Honors Program

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Marie LeJeune

Honors Program Director

Dr. Gavin Keulks


In this modern-day world, we have an immense amount of information that we can access right through our technology. The power and speed of technology have created a world where information changes quickly, and new ideas can be distributed and adapted almost instantaneously. It has also resulted in inaccurate and misinformation which has to be sorted through and questioned critically (Murawski, 2014). Today it is so important that students learn critical thinking skills, so they can be both the inventors and the critics of the new information being put out. Yet with this issue arising, change still has not come. Organizations and initiatives that are involved in education reform (National Center on Education and the Economy, the American Diploma Project, the Aspen Institute) have brought attention to the need for students to think and/or reason critically. Content that once had to be drilled into students’ heads is now just a phone swipe away, but the ability to make sense of that information requires thinking critically about it. My thesis aims to address this problem by integrating the development of critical thinking into a Common Core-based literacy unit. I have created a literacy unit that will develop students’ critical thinking while still covering the required 5th grade Oregon Common Core Standards for English Language Arts. The central focus and learning objective in the unit all align with each other and the ELA state standards as well. These lessons use the concept of discrimination to engage students with the content as it is an authentic issue that can affect many of them. The main purpose of my project is to provide an example unit to show that a 6 classroom teacher can align the development of the critical thinking skills with common core standards they must teach.