Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Practical Critical Thinking *Review

The Critical Thinking Co. helps kids to become better problem solvers. We definitely need to incorporate this into our homeschools so that the kids are getting geared up in math, reading, writing, science and social studies. I wanted to help my high school student with his critical thinking so we chose
Practical Critical Thinking for review. It is geared for 9-12th grade. You will want the Teacher Manual to go along with it!

I used to love these type of 'handouts' when I was in school. The brain games, that I often thought the teachers were just giving out as busy work. Well come to find out, they were actually getting us to do practical thinking.

The student manual begins with "The 411 about Critical Thinking". This gives the student a look at what critical thinking is all about, and what is affected by our critical thinking skills. The second chapter was one of my favorites. The "brain games" portion, or "Playing Games, and Doing Puzzles", as it is labeled. These puzzles help your brain to think outside of the box. I had Mackinley do one section each day. I did have to help guide and direct for several of them. His style of games are video games, not brainiac games. He likes leaving the deciphering to me. Well I helped guide, but didn't do them for him and I think it really did help his critical thinking level. Multi Dimensional Mind Betters were especially fun for me to reminisce about doing in school myself.

Chapter three was geared toward concepts on critical thinking, for example facts vs opinions, possibilities vs proven, evidence, and getting creative with problem solving.

Chapter four looks more at our language. Looking at emotionally charged words, and even words and sentences that seem ambiguious. These cracked me up! Taking a look at a sentence that can have two meanings such as "Visiting relatives can be boring". Looking at how the sentence is written and seeing that you can get a couple of meanings out of it and aren't really sure which one is right.

Analyzing arguments and understanding fallacies are the next two chapters. We didn't get this far in the review period. These look like they will be really fun though. Seeing how reasoning with arguments and basically 'lies' critically can help you navigate much of what you will encounter out there in the 'real world'.

Advertising is a big one in chapter 7. We are inundated with it constantly and it really does help our kids to realize the propaganda and the guises of the advertising industry. Chapter 8 rounds out the book with eyewitness testimony.

What's most important in the Teacher Manual? The answers! Oh boy, did I need to utilize the Teacher Manual a lot. I am surprised at how far my critical thinking skills have gotten lost in the recess of my brain. There was a time of two we had to call in the big guns to help.. aka Dad.
The Teacher Manual also has reproducible activities that are identical to the activity book for student. 

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  1. Hi, I was wondering how this compared to the Mind Benders program that is also made by Critical Thinking Co.

  2. I am not familiar with the Mind Benders as far as having reviewed it. From what I can tell by their definition of Mind Benders, is that is primarily math related. This one included more of the language, and critical thinking besides just math games. It seems like this one would be more encompassing than Math Benders.