## Critical Thinking Activities

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Earlier this semester my friend and I were chatting about math.  She said that every Friday they include some critical thinking activities. I thought that was a terrific idea and back in late February I ordered some materials. We added some of these activities into our schedule as well.  We generally include critical thinking once a week, but sometimes we skip a week depending on our schedule.

Sudoku: The kids did Sudoku puzzles for the first time this semester.  A First Sudoku Book is a really great place to start. We’ve gone through the entire book in the past few months.  If you don’t know anything about Sudoku, you have to use the numbers 1-4 (in the book on the left) or 1-6 ( in the book on the right) in each square, row and column. You cannot have the same number in any square, row or column. Once your child has mastered the four-square puzzles she can move on to six squares.

In order for multiple kids to use these (or for the kids to do the puzzle over again) we took the books apart and slip them into the dry erase activity center. Once LD mastered the 4-square Sudoku puzzles he set off on the 6-square puzzles in  Sudoku Puzzles for Kids.

Analogies: At the scholastic dollar days back a few months ago, I bought a number of analogy books.  Obviously I only paid a dollar for these. Hey! I see the Anaologies Grade 2-3 and Analogies Grade 4-5 are on sale once again for \$1.00 (post written on Friday 5/18). I printed out the grade 2-3 analogies and put them in a notebook. LD finds them much too easy (but I didn’t print out anything from the next level yet), DD absolutely loves them (and finds them easy as well).

Logic: We’ve used a number of printouts from the Teacher File Box this semester. LD (age 8) was able to figure these out, but they were tough for DD (age 6):

We also got this book, Logic Safari. Again LD was able to do these on his own, but DD often needed help:

We also got some Critical Thinking Card Games which has a selection of different kinds of activity card — think about it, riddles, fact or fiction, how can you tell? and other thought-provoking question cards.

That’s about it.  Do your kids enjoy working through critical thinking puzzles?

## Photo Nature Hunt

Friday, March 30th, 2012

### Think Challenge: Week 6

We’re loving the spring weather here where we are, so it was time for another outdoor challenge. This is similar to the traditional nature scavenger hunt, this time using a camera.

Here is the link to our  Photo Hunt check list  (pictured below). You can print out copies for your kids. And if you do, I’d love to hear a comment from you!

Here is a collage of some of photos that DD took for the Photo Hunt:

Here is LD’s photo collage:

## Have fun!

Visit all of the previous week’s Think Challenges here (Weeks 1-5). You’ll find the download to our Nature Scavenger Hunt at this post.

## Think Challenge: Week 5

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

### The Parachute Challenge!

I supplied the kids with cups, yarn, tape, plastic bags, scissors, and a hole puncher.

Their challenge was build a parachute that could safely transport objects down from a 12 foot drop.

They got busy building and testing their parachutes out with coins.

Then they were ready for the big test — a long drop with raw eggs.

## Our Results?

I’m happy to report all eggs survived the drop!

## Think Challenge: Week 4

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Challenge your kids to think creatively with this quick activity.

This week we had to do our Think Challenge on Monday since I knew I’d be out of commission. The kids were thrilled; they really love these activities! Their challenge was to build as tall a tower as they could with marshmallows and straws. I let ED use wooden skewers because the straws were challenging to work with.

Here are the kids’ final towers. I was impressed with LD because he was having trouble having the straws stand upright until he placed a counter-weight (the small marshmallow) at the bottom of the straw pole.

You can see the previous weeks’ Think Challenges by clicking here or  go to the right sidebar and select Categories (It’s just above the Archives and Blogroll). After you click on categories, scroll down and you’ll see the Think Challenge link. You can browse through all of our various units and topics… There’s an extensive list to browse through everything from American History and Ancient Greece to Math, Preschool, Science Experiments, Writing and much more.

## Nature Scavenger Hunt

Friday, March 9th, 2012

# (Creative Thinking Activities)

Challenge your kids to think outside the box!

We’ve been having such lovely weather that it was time to send the kids outdoors for our next Think Challenge. I made a very open ended Nature Scavenger Hunt and sent the kids on their way!

The kids had a great time with it!

LD found “something white” (the fungus in the picture below)

DD found “something hairy” (below)

We all found lots of things that were alive: (salamander, slug, earthworm, ants, crayfish and termites)

After a while our Nature Scavenger Hunt was at an end and we just enjoyed being outdoors!

If you missed the previous Think Challenges we’ve done be sure to visit this post.