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Learning to think, and being able to pick up on clues is an important part of growing up. This skill is one taught by The Critical Thinking Co.™ who does an excellent job of developing critical thinking skills. My son most recently practiced these skills using Critical Thinking Detective™ Book 1. I invite you to come read our review.
The goals of The Critical Thinking Co is to help increase the problem solving skills of students so they are better equipped to meet all of life’s challenges. An increased ability to problem solve will improve grades. Rather than using a test and answer approach they apply logic to math, science, reading, writing and history.
The book we used, The Critical Thinking Detective Book 1 contains 12 logic puzzles in the form of detective cases to solve. It is recommended for grades 4-12. My son is 12 years old and therefore fit perfectly within this age range. We received the ebook version which I promptly printed off on our black and white printer. For the most part having the book in black/white worked well, except for one lesson which needed colour (he has not completed the book yet). Having downloaded it to my computer made it really easy for him to just double check the colours there (actually he just called out me .. mom.. who has a green shirt?)
My son did not work on this every day. He recently had surgery and long before the surgery happened I told him he’d have two weeks off of any type of schooling while he recovered from it. By the middle of week two he was needing to have more to do so I had him spend a bit of time working on this review. It surprised him that he got tired after working through two lessons. I did have him write out the answers to a couple of the lessons, but most of the time he just talked it out with me.
Each case consists of a few short paragraphs describing the case, witness statements, and statements from each of the four suspects. All of the statements are true. Illustrations of the suspects are provided in full colour. These illustrations proved useful in determining the guilty party frequently. The combination between visual and verbal clues was an important part of solving the crime. Answers are given in the back of the book along with the reason why.
“Some of the clues are misleading. For instance in the football thief it talks about no socks and the only character that you can gather information from in that regards is an innocent character. How can you know if you can’t see their feet?”
“More writing space is needed”, “It would be nice if it were more difficult” “Would be good to have some where you couldn’t trust all of what the suspects say” “I thought it was an okay program.” “I’m not really happy with it, I would rather it be more difficult with more evidence with some true and some not so you need to weigh out the information more and really need to think more.” “I want it be like real detectives having to solve real crimes”.
I found it interesting working through the challenges with my lad. What I grabbed my attention was his comment “they are too easy”. Observation told me that they weren’t too easy until we started talking about them. If the lad was working through it all on his own, his initial guesses were sometimes wrong, but as soon as we talked about them, he’d get the correct answer very quickly. Working through with pen and paper, or talking about it made all the difference for him. Having a sounding board was useful for him. I don’t know if this is a learning to think issue, or just how his brain processes information differently. He’s a verbal lad who does well bouncing ideas off of people.
For me personally, some of the cases were challenging for me as an adult, but others were quite easy to figure out. It was a good assortment of challenges.
Read a past review here.
32 pages, 12 cases, four suspects, answers in back, all statements true
Critical thinking, logic problems, thinking skills
100 members of the Homeschool Review Crew reviewed the following items:
I invite you to read our reviews at this link.
OH! Before I forget, The Critical Thinking Co is having a sale.
Free Critical Thinking Puzzles! – This gift is valued at $75, but is completely free for you! Sign up for their newsletter and receive a free critical thinking puzzle each week. Choose what Pre-k-8th grade level to receive.