Monday, March 23, 2009

Critical Thinking Company Math

I have long been a fan of The Critical Thinking Company. We've used their Mind Benders Series, Building Thinking Skills, Language Smarts, and Science. I was excited to be able to review Mathematical Reasoning Level B for 1st grade. Each grade level workbook is $32.99 and is a full color consumable workbook. The one I received contained 264 pages.

I was quite impressed with the number of skills covered and the varied activities and how the topics were connected to the NCTM standards in a chart at the front of the book. My son liked that the topics changed from day to day and he didn't get bored doing the same type of problem everyday, but each skill was repeated soon enough that he didn't forget what he had learned. He was also eager to do several pages every day and most pages were self-explanatory enough that I didn't have to stay right next to him the entire time.

Mathematical Reasoning included all of the skills I expected to be covered in a 1st grade level math book and a list of the skills in each level can be found on the company website. There are also several sample pages. My sons favorite pages were "mystery pictures." First was a page of regular math problems followed by a "dot-to-dot" type activity where instead of going from 1-20, you connected the dots in order of your answers. Not only were these great motivation (he would often keep going to get to the next one), they were somewhat self-correcting. If the answer he got wasn't in the puzzle, he knew he needed to try again.

I was pleased with the amount of word problems and use of visual manipulatives to help make concepts concrete. I felt like it was a very complete math program, easy to use, and kid friendly. The only negative I found is that it is consumable, but so are most math resources for this level. Also, the authors recommend using online virtual manipulatives, but you may want to add a physical set of manipulatives as well.

Overall, this is a product that lives up to my expectations for a product from The Critical Thinking Company.

You can read reviews of other levels at the Crew website.

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