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Critical Thinking Skills

Building Thinking Skills

A Test Prep Program for the CogAT, OLSAT, InView, and standardized tests.

This engaging series develops critical thinking skills necessary for success in reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and standardized tests in Grades 2-12+. The Building Thinking Skills® series is the bestselling thinking skills program in the world! The engaging, highly-effective activities are developmentally sequenced. Each skill (for example, classifying) is presented first in the semi-concrete figural-spatial form. Students also learn important academic vocabulary, concepts, and skills as they analyze relationships between objects, between words, and between objects and words by:

  • Observing, recognizing, and describing characteristics
  • Distinguishing similarities and differences
  • Identifying and completing sequences, classifications, and analogies

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These processes help students develop superior thinking and communication skills that lead to deeper content learning in all subjects. Activities are modeled to reinforce skills and concepts.

Level 3 for grades 7-12+ is split into two books: one for Figural Similarities, Sequences, and Classifications; and one for Verbal Similarities, Sequences, and Classifications.

These workbooks are reproducible for classroom and individual use! Answer key included.
200-400+ pages depending on grade level. Copyright 2006-2008.


Can You Find Me?

Can You Find Me?For grades K & 1, this fun, colorful 112-page book of mind-building riddles introduces young minds to critical thinking and organized analysis. To solve the riddles, students practice:
    • Identifying Similarities and Differences
    • Forming/Following Sequences and Patterns
    • Classifying Objects and Groups
    • Identifying/Interpreting Analogies
    • Logic

The riddles also teach the following concepts found in most state and national standards:
Math—counting, shape and number recognition, recognizing and completing patterns, spatial position, more/less/equal, ordinal numbers (first, third, etc.), part/whole measurement
Reading Readiness—letter recognition, rhyming words, letter-sound association, letter sequence, sight words, directionality
Science—animal attributes, weather/seasons, senses, body parts, plants/plant growth, force/motion
Social Studies—family, community helpers, health and safety, identifying locations

Each riddle requires identification of two or more clues to deduce the answer. Students either point to a picture or verbalize the answer. Activities may be enhanced by teaching additional information about the animals, objects, shapes, letters, and numbers used in the riddles. This book includes answers and a chart of the skills developed in each activity.

Reproducible. 112 pages. Answer Key. View “Can You Find Me?” Table of Contents.


Thinking Skills for Tests

Thinking Skills for TestsAll standardized tests measure the ability to think carefully and critically. Most parents and teachers prepare their students for standardized tests using practice tests that lack vital instruction in test-taking skills. These easy-to-use, fun products teach students how to use highly-effective critical thinking skills and other strategic test-taking skills to improve their test scores.

In the process of learning and practicing these thinking skills, students will have the opportunity to practice listening and following directions. They will also discuss answers so you can assess their thinking and assure them that they’re thinking carefully.  This book also teaches them to answer questions even when their answer is uncertain or the question is difficult. This practice can build confidence, reduce anxiety, and remove obstacles that can hinder students from performing their best on tests.

Thinking Skills for Tests presents essential thinking skills that form the base of both verbal and nonverbal reasoning and logic:

Early Learning (Gr. PreK-2)
     •  Listen
     •  Classify Objects and Concepts
     •  Build Vocabulary Through the Process of Elimination
     •  Relate Concepts
     •  Verbal Reasoning
     •  Reason with Analogies
     •  Arithmetic Reasoning
     •  Sequence
     •  Recognize Patterns

Upper Elementary (Gr. 3-5)
     •  Vocabulary
     •  Understand the Main Idea
     •  Answer Multiple Choice Questions
     •  Give Written Answers
     •  Use Clues to Infer Answers
     •  Use Your Thoughts and Feelings to Infer Answers

     •  Estimate the Correct Answer
     •  Solve Complicated Word Problems
     •  Use Different Units of Measure in Word Problems
     •  Estimations in Word Problems

Reproducible. 48 pages. Answer Key. View “Upper Elementary” Table of Contents.


Mind Benders®

Deductive Thinking Skills

Mind Benders - Mind Benders® Deductive Thinking SkillsThis best-selling deductive thinking puzzles series develops the logic, reading comprehension, and mental organization skills vital to achieving higher grades and top test scores in all subjects. These award-winning, fun puzzles are also great for developing real-life, problem-solving skills!

Students learn to carefully analyze each Mind Benders® story and its clues, identifying logical associations between people, places, and things. The key is to make sure you get all the information out of each clue, by starting with the most obvious associations, then deducing the less obvious associations until everything finally fits together.

Books include step-by-step instructions and detailed answers. Puzzles increase in difficulty as you progress.

Reproducible. 48-64 pages. Answer Key. View Level 3 Table of Contents.


Balance Benders

Logic and Algebraic Reasoning Puzzles

Balance Benders - Logic and Algebraic Reasoning PuzzlesMove over Sudoku, here come Balance Benders™! You can use these activities as quick, fun logic problems or as stepping stones to success in algebra. Students develop problem-solving skills and pre-algebra skills as they solve balance puzzles that are more fun and addictive than Sudoku puzzles! Students must analyze each balance to identify the clues, and then synthesize the information to solve the puzzle. Try one—and then try to stop!

Balance Benders™ puzzles spiral—gradually introducing more challenging concepts to give students the confidence and ability to master algebra word problems. These concepts include:

Deductive Thinking
Commutative Property
Distributive Property
Associative Property
Substitution Property of Equality and Inequality
Addition Property of Equality and Inequality
Subtraction Property of Equality and Inequality
Multiplication Property of Equality and Inequality
Division Property of Equality and Inequality

Reproducible. 48 pages. Answer Key. View Level 1 Table of Contents.


Think Analogies® Books

Learning to Connect Words & Relationships

Think AnalogiesLooking for an easy-to-understand method to teach analogies with plenty of practice? The books in this series teach students how to analyze and classify analogies by relationship, category, and structure. Students who learn strategies to make and complete analogies benefit in many ways. They sharpen their reasoning skills as they analyze the subtleties of language and relationship presented in analogies. As students learn to understand simple word analogies, they move toward understanding more complex analogous relationships presented in literature, science, and history. Analogies are also a key component of many assessment and ability tests.

Both books begin with an exploration of word relationships. Students classify word groups and form pairs of related items, and then identify types of analogous relationships and classify them. Finally, they select and supply words and word pairs to complete analogies. The B1 book also teaches how to read and understand analogy structures, describe analogous relationships, and make analogies from word lists.

Reproducible. 56-64 pages. Answer Key. View B1 Table of Contents.


Developing Critical Thinking through Science

Hands-On Physical Science

Developing Critical Thinking through ScienceThe fun, hands-on physical science lessons/experiments in these books teach science principles found in state and national science standards.  Students also learn and practice critical thinking through the application of the scientific method of investigation. Each activity is a 10- to 30-minute guided experiment in which students are prompted to verbalize their step-by-step observations, predictions, and conclusions. Reproducible pictures or charts are included when needed, but the focus is inquiry-based, hands-on science.

Preparation time is short, and most materials can be found around the classroom. Step-by-step procedures, questions, answer guidelines, and clear illustrations are provided. Practical applications at the end of each activity relate science concepts to real-life experiences. These activities can be used successfully with a minimum of science knowledge, preparation time, and science equipment. The lessons/experiments teach science following these four important educational themes:

  1. Science can and should motivate students toward learning and toward developing curiosity about the world in which they live.
  2. Science is viewed as an active process of developing ideas, or “storybuilding,” rather than as static bodies of already-existing knowledge to be passed on to students. Instead of merely describing what is taking place, the teacher guides the students through an inquiry process by asking pertinent, open-ended questions and by encouraging investigative process through demonstration, hands-on opportunities, and extension of experiments.
  3. Students are encouraged to observe and describe their observations accurately and completely using scientific terminology. Scientific terms are defined, demonstrated with concrete examples, then applied and reinforced throughout the activities.
  4. An open, interactive atmosphere in the classroom is essential. Students and their teacher actively investigate ideas together (compared to a passive learning situation in which students are merely told the problem, given the answers, and expected to memorize the information.) Through observation, hands-on participation, and verbalization of the physical and thought processes, students build a more concrete understanding of the concepts taught in the activities. With the teacher’s help, students can learn to apply these same analytic and problem-solving skills to their other studies and to any classroom or social problems that might arise.
Book 1 (Grades 1-3) Units:
     •  Observing
     •  Water
     •  Buoyancy and Surface Tension
     •  Air
     •  Moving Air—Air Pressure
     •  Force
     •  Space, Light, and Shadows

Book 2 (Grades 4-8) Units:
     •  Process Skills
     •  Force, Movement, Work, Systems, and Weight
     •  States of Matter
     •  Mass, Volume, and Density
     •  Air Pressure & Pressure of the Atmosphere
     •  Heat, Expansion, and the Movement of Molecules
     •  Transfer of Heat
     •  Flight and Aerodynamics
     •  The Speed of Falling Bodies
     •  Variables
     •  The Flight of Rockets
     •  Inertia and the Flight of Satellites
     •  Surface Tension and Bubbles
     •  Sound
     •  Reflection and Refraction of Light
     •  Magnetism and Electricity

Reproducible. 150-300+ pages. Answer Key. View Book 2 Table of Contents.


Study Strategies Made Easy

A Practical Plan for School Success

Study strategy made easy seton testingStudy Strategies Made Easy: A Practical Plan for School Success was designed by leading educational specialists to teach valuable study skills to students. It teaches students how to learn – the true key to acquiring knowledge. Strategies focus on organizational skills, time management, improving reading comprehension, vocabulary development, communication, how to study for tests effectively, memorization, and more.

This workbook includes self-tests and reproducible forms to be used by individual students. Valuable information is included for teachers and parents who work with students to develop study strategies for school success. Study Strategies Made Easy is the result of extensive research and is successfully used in leading schools and learning centers throughout the United States and Canada.

Recommended Grades 6-12. 157 pp.


How to Think and Study

Use these thinking skills and study strategy products to develop your student’s critical thinking skills and study skills necessary for success in school and taking standardized tests.