Miss J is interested in numbers and seems to find patterns intriguing. She also enjoys logic puzzles. We like to encourage that as much as we can. So, when Pattern Explorer Beginning (Grades 3-4) popped up in the possible reviews, we knew it would be a good challenge and engage her interests. (I like it when I am not wrong.) This book from The Critical Thinking Co. has been a fun item to add to our weekly work.
For this review, we received a digital copy of the ebook. This is a download that is password protected and can be saved to your computer. You can then print as many copies as you might need. This is par for the course with The Critical Thinking Co. and one of the many reasons I really like them.
I printed out all of the worksheet pages for Miss J and put them in a folder. Having used several other products from this company, we have found this is the best way to go about it for her. She has all of the pages to work on as needed and she doesn’t need to access the computer any more to do her work.
The solutions are still on the computer so if we can’t figure something out, computer access will be needed again. So far so good, though. The book also has some hints for when the solution is not yet desired but a slight push would be helpful. This will be a great help if we get stuck along the way. These hints are on completely different pages than the solutions so there is no chance of accidentally seeing the answers.
Miss J is completing two to three of these exercises a week. This is quite a good brain challenge, actually. The pacing is left up to the teacher to determine, as students tend to be ready for abstract thinking at different times. These patterns are intended to help students move from concrete to abstract thinking.
The book consists of 84 pages, the last one of which is a sample of another book. There are 40 exercises that work through five pattern themes, so there are 8 of each type in rotation.
- Pattern Predictor – Finding the patterns and determining what is coming up in the pattern
- Equality Explorer – Decoding equations to find the value of different symbols
- Sequence Sleuth – Determining what comes next in the sequence, whether numbers or symbols
- Number Ninja – Solving puzzles to find hidden numbers or functions
- Function Finder – Discovering the hidden connection between numbers in patterns
The pages rotate through these five types of puzzles. Miss J has completed two of each type so far. Pattern Predictor has seemed to be her favorite. It is recommended that the student work through these in order since the difficulty level does grow slightly with each new appearance of the rotation.
Watching her work through each of the types, I see her really struggling with some of the puzzles. The reason? Her multiplication and division skills are still not super strong. So it is a challenge. These pages are definitely helping strengthen the skills, though. Even in the few weeks we have been using Pattern Explorer, her ability has grown.
Does she love it? Not particularly but her pride in having figured things out is apparent. And she is excited when she completes a page. She doesn’t ask for it like she does the Mind Benders books we have used from The Critical Thinking Co. but she doesn’t fight about pulling the pages out. And to me, that is a win.
Would I recommend this series of Pattern Explorer books? Yes. Without a doubt. Getting in math thinking and reasoning skills in ways that are not the same old problem/solution, equation/solution is a great thing. And these definitely fit the bill.
If it sounds interesting, The Critical Thinking Co. is offering readers a 15% discount AND free shipping when you use the coupon code: TOSCREW19. It expires 12/31/2019.
And if you want to read about other products we have used, you can check these out:
- Something’s Fishy At Lake Iwannafisha – an extended project working on forensic sciences (review)
- Editor In Chief – learning to find and fix errors in passages (review)
- Mind Benders – a series of puzzles in logical thinking to solve (something we picked up locally)
- Math Analogies – a series of analogies to work through; not something we reviewed though you can read reviews of it from the year we reviewed Editor In Chief
Lori, At Home.
Other Homeschool Review Crew members have been using other products from The Critical Thinking Co. They are:
Pattern Explorer Beginning (Grades 3-4)
Elementary Math Games (Grades 3-5)
Critical Thinking Detective – Vocabulary Book 2 (Grades 5-12+)
Dare to Compare: Math Level 2 (Grades 6-7)
Middle School Math Games (Grades 6-8)
Building Writing Skills – Essential Tips & Techniques (Grades 6-12+)
Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 1 (Grades 8-12+)
Vocabulary Virtuoso PSAT-SAT Book 2 (Grades 8-12+)
Click on the image below to head over to the Crew blog and read about other families’ experiences with these products.