Critical Thinking Activities grades K-3
Category Description for Critical Thinking Activities
This series concentrates on three types of critical thinking: recognizing patterns, visual imagery, and logic & reason. Increasing a student’s awareness of patterns is helpful in many areas - but especially in mathematics, since mathematics is largely a study of patterns! Activities included in this section contain both visual and mathematical reasoning to discover and continue patterns. Imagery (the ability to visualize) is extremely helpful in problem solving as well. Exercises include reproducing designs, ordering, comparing, symmetry, mirror images, congruence, rotation, similarity, part to whole relationships, folding, turning, rotating, and more. Logic, of course, helps students to think “successfully.” Again, you’ll find a wide assortment of activities here including logic word problems, visual logic, Venn diagrams, following directions, making deductions, deciphering codes, ordering steps, etc. Within each section, activities progress from easy, to medium, to difficult. The author’s main goal in developing this series was to increase students’ abilities in mathematics by sharpening the three important elements of critical thinking in math: patterns, imagery, and logic. However, increasing your children’s ability to recognize patterns, use visual imagery, and reason logically will help them solve problems in almost any subject area - and in life. We list these books in this section rather than math because the benefits of using them far exceed the boundaries of math.
What impresses us also about these books is the range and variety of activities. We have seen and used other thinking skills workbooks in the past, but, despite their increased volume, there was a lot of repetition of very similar exercises (not that these volumes are lightweights - they range between 174-192 pages each!). In order to cover the full scope of activities included in Critical Thinking Activities, you’d have to purchase several different books. The books are reproducible, but, unless you have access to inexpensive copying, you might want to use them as workbooks. As an additional bonus - the answers are included right in the books.
My children enjoy the work they have done in this book. My 9 year old twins just completed this book and will be beginning the next one in the series. From a parent's perspective, it is great. There is little to no prep time, I just choose which page I wanted them to complete. Given the different abilities of my boys, some days were quite challenging. One of my twins is autistic and the other is ADD. My autistic son was able to handle all the patterning type problems, but would have more issues with the abstract ideas (which is great as we want to expand his logical thinking) and my ADD child really struggled with slowing down and thinking. This has not changed, but towards the end of this book, he was very impressed with his ability to copy the pattern most of the time. Because my children are behind grade level in math, they were unable to do some of the more difficult math logic pages, but I am confident that as they progress through math they will be able to complete them. We really liked the different styles of logic thought processes used and the fact that it was fun for the children. The cons were that some days it just seemed much more difficult than my children were able to handle. That said however, there are many more pros than cons and the more difficult pages we set aside to do later. We think that the value of the product is great and we will continue to use this series with our children.