Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
The Critical Thinking Co.™ has so many products that we have used and loved over the years of home education. There is always something to discover that we didn’t know before and this is yet another gem. Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving (Grades 6-9) is available as either a physical book or a downloadable ebook (Windows only) and is packed full with problem solving.
In the introduction to the book, problem solving is defined as “any problem or activity that requires a series of thinking skills.” (p. iii) This means that it is a multi-step function in thinking and requires more than just simple arithmetic skills. They can be games, puzzles, brainteasers, and other formats; they just have to engage the brain in a series of steps in problem solving.
Mastering Logic & Math Problem Solving is set up with some introductory material, ten chapters, an answer key, and two appendices.
It is rich and full and can be used in a number of different ways. We used it as a fun activity for my 9th grader and my 6th grader. They both have brains that love logic and challenges that require in depth thinking. I wanted to engage them in challenges without it being a “curriculum” piece. I placed the book out on the table and it was not even a full hour before it was picked up and snuck off with. It was placed back on the table a bit later and I found out that my 9th grader had taken it to solve a few puzzles in her closet. (A closet learner! I LOVE it!)
We have been carrying it with us back and forth to dance classes as they prepare for recital and it has been a good fit for this purpose. This was just a good fit when we need something new do during the long hours of sitting in the car (since the social distancing means that no one except students and teachers can be in the dance studio and we are doing about 20 hours of dance a week). We would pull it out and pick a few that look fun.
Often we would choose some that were mental skills. These did not require a copy of the page or a piece of paper and pencil. Just mental considerations for the most part. (The Critical Thinking Co.™ has one of the most generous copyright agreements I have seen. The owner of the book can copy as needed for their family or classroom. The digital owner can print as much as needed for their family or classroom.) We would do a few and then go on to some other activity. This prevented a stressing situation and became something fun and different. The freedom to choose activities meant they were finding something appealing to them and that they wanted to work on. This freedom is part of what has made this use of the book so successful for us. No pressure, no expectation, just fun.
There were some days when I pulled it out at home, too. I would leave it on the table and just grab it and start looking through it. Often, Miss J would walk up beside me and watch over my shoulder as I worked on one. She did this when I was working out how many rectangles were in this picture. We talked about ways to solve it before reading their tips at the bottom of the page.
This book will stay close at hand all summer long as enriching and engaging activity for the girls through the hot days. They will pick it up to do on their own or to challenge each other with. Sometimes, just to see what Mom can do, too. 🙂
We have enjoyed having this around and I know it will continue to get use in the weeks to come.
Lori, At Home.
Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read more reviews on products from Critical Thinking Co.™ Also reviewed were:
Who Is This Kid? Colleges Want to Know! (Grades 9-12+)
Dare to Compare Math: Beginning (Grades 2-3)
Creative Problem Solving Level 1 (Grades PreK-2)
Click on the link below to visit the Crew blog and read more.