Friday, April 20, 2012

Review: Crypto Mind Benders

Crypto Mind Benders – Famous Quotations
The Critical Thinking Company

Age: Grades 3 – 12+
Cost:  $10.99

The Critical Thinking Company has been a staple go-to for me since I started homeschooling.  Being a lover of logic, their books for promoting critical thinking are a personal favorite.
My younger son sometimes struggles with slowing down to think through a process before jumping in.  We’ve been working on computer programming this term, and he loves it.  The one thing that frustrates him is when he gets ahead of himself and the program won’t do what he wants it to do.  He needs to understand that mapping out the process before programming is critical.

In fact, this applies to many things in life.  Writing, for instance, requires a good outline if you are going to complete a well-developed, cohesive piece.  I tell my students online and in the co-op this all of the time, but they want to just jump in without planning.  Those that embrace planning become much better writers.
Crypto Mind Benders teaches the student to discover a pattern in order to get to a solution.  While the focus is math, the understanding gained helps all core subjects.  At first, my son was resistant.  He didn't want one more thing to do during the day.  After getting him to do a few pages, he now asks when he gets to do the workbook. 

Here’s an example from the website:

Looking at the first two steps at the top we get:  I < E and R.
Looking at the next step we get:  S < I < E and R

Looking at the final step we get:  S < I < R < E

The student then fills out the chart putting a plus in the box for the correct order based on the equation he developed.  Minuses are placed in the other boxes.  (This can also be done as the equation is being developed.)

Now the student can determine the letter that corresponds to the number and place it in the margin.  (See above.)

When all of the equations on the page are done, the student will then solve a cryptogram that is a famous quote.  They also have one for jokes, which I know my son would enjoy!

This books has been a lot of fun for us!  It’s helped my son see that he must carefully consider all the variables before he can get to an answer.  He likes it because it’s a puzzle to be solved with a quote as a treat at the end.  I like it because it is building his critical thinking skills that will help him in all his subjects including math, writing and computers.
To see other reviews of Critical Thinking Company products by the TOS Crew – click here.

Disclaimer:  I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew.

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