Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Critical Thinking Co. {Review}

Analogies are definately not my strong suite.  I quite understand the need to teach them and to practice them.  I was very pleased when The Critical Thinking Co. gave us Math Analogies Level 1 to try out recently.

 'Critical thinking is identifying and evaluating evidence to guide decision making. Critical thinkers use in-depth analysis of evidence to make decisions and communicate his beliefs clearly and accurately' - The Critical Thinking Co. For more information and articles in relation to critical thinking please go to: The Critical Thinking Co.™ Articles & Advice

By using these products you help your students improve their academic ability and their day to day skills in all subject areas. There are immediate and long term benefits to practicing analaogies. The immediate benefit is being able to recognize and solve simple problems.  The long-term benefits are an improvement in thinking and reasoning skills and the ability to break more complex issues down into component parts in order to solve them.

"If we teach children everything we know, their knowledge is limited to ours. If we teach children to think, their knowledge is limitless." - Michael Baker, (President Critical Thinking Co.)

What we received
There are currently five defined content standards that the analogies are built around and these are:
  1. Number and Operations
  2. Algebra
  3. Geometry
  4. Measurement
  5. Data Analysis and Probability
PC Requirements
  • Platform: Windows® 8/7/Vista
  • CPU: 1 GHz or faster
  • RAM: 512MB
Please NOTE this software is for the Windows operating system only and will NOT work on Mac.

How we used it
The download and installation of the program was very quick and easy.  Upon opening it the first time I had to put in Nathaniel's name.

Math analogies Level one consists of sample analogies and 152 anaologies to solve.

We started with the sample analogies. These samples are accessable at any time the student needs a refresher.  The tutor explains each step in processing each example.  As the tutor explains little text boxes appear with the words reinforcing the tutors teaching.

We clicked on begin.  This took us straight to the analogies.  Each analogy comes up as a card on the screen presenting the sample problem on the left of the four dots, followed by the problem to solve.  You are presented with four options at the bottom of the card from which to select your answer.  Once you have determined the answer you click and drag your answer to after the two dots.  You know straight away if your answer is correct or incorrect.  The top left of the card also shows you which attempt you are working on.

Here are a few samples:
Analogy number 151 before answering

If you answer an analogy incorrectly you know immediately as you get an INCORRECT notice.

When solved correctly the positive feedback is in green: CORRECT
You can stop at any point during the questions and return and resume at a later date or time the program holds your place. It's as easy as hitting the little house on the top right to return home.

Once you complete your first attempt you are given a report card of your progress showing how many analogies you completed and the score in percentage of the correctly answered analaogies. If you click on restart it resets the program and you loose all the data.

Once you click on Begin Second Attempt you are presented with the analogies you incorrectly answered on your first attempt.   You get four attempts before you need to reset and begin again.  It is through repeated practice that the student developes the neccessary thinking skills to successfully complete all the analogies. After each attempt you are given a score card.  After the fourth attempt this is what the card looks like:

Final score card

By clicking on 'Click to Review' you can see each analogy card the student did along with their chosen answer and whether this was correct or incorrect.

 Would we change anything ?
I would love a parent password protected answer key.  There were a couple of analogies that I could not answer and together we simply guessed and at times were lucky we got a correct one and at others we noted which answers were incorrect so we could try a different one in the next round.  An answer key would have been beneficial.

Cost of Math Analogies Level 1

  • Win Download (2 PCs) = $6.99
  • Paperback $11.99
  • Win Download (6 PCs) $13.99
  • iPad App = iTunes Store
  • Android Tablet App = Google Play Store

Recommended Age Range
  • Math Analogies Level One is recommended for students in the Grade 2 to 3 level.
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Overall Nathaniel and I enjoyed working on these analogies together.  We had a lot of fun trying to problem solve the analogies. It was a great product to use to teach Nathaniel some new critical thinking skills.

It was encouraging watching his personal development as we worked through the variety of analogies presented and by the end of the first round I could see his own growth and developement.

At first I was a little taken aback by the sheer number of problems to work through but once we realised that we could exit and come back and resume where we had excited it was a lot easier.  Each day I would assign him a certain number of cards to work through.

One of our highlights was completing all 152 analogies with a final score of 100 %.  Nathaniel felt a huge sense of achievement as he had work hard to get there.

I am impressed with the ease of use of this product and it's effectiveness.  If you are looking for a product to help teach anaologies I recommend you take a look at the wide range of products offered by The Critical Thinking Co


"Not everything that counts can be counted and not everything that can be counted counts." - William Bruce Cameron
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