Friday, May 10, 2019

Pattern Explorer: A The Critical Thinking Co. Review

My 8 year old, J, has been learning to do long division and I'm gaining much respect for those elementary teachers who do this year after year! He's really been doing pretty well, but long division is full of a lot of steps and definitely wearing on him.  Today's review of Pattern Explorer Beginning  from The Critical Thinking Co. him has been a nice break while also strengthening his math skills at the same time.

What We Received:

We received one digital file.  Pattern Explorer comes as an ebook that you can save and print off as needed.

How It Works:

The book includes a Table of Contents, Introduction, 40 different activities, Hints, Solutions, and a Sample page from Dare to Compare, another resource by The Critical Thinking Co. Pattern Explorer is designed to help 3rd and 4th graders strengthen their mathematical pattern and structure skills through a series of activities that are divided into 5 themes:

  • Pattern Predictor
  • Equality Explorer
  • Sequence Sleuth
  • Number Ninja
  • Function Finder
The themes cycle back throughout the entire book to give students a variety of exercises.  All activities can stand alone as an enrichment resource, but it is designed to be used from beginning to end, as the activities build up on each other in skill.  The activities themselves use the basics - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division - in higher level ways that stretch students thinking from concrete to abstract.  

At the end of the activities, there is a Hints section that is a great help for times when a student is stuck, but you aren't ready to just give them the solution.

The Solutions section immediately follows and makes helping or grading students' work easy and efficient.

How We Used It:

Since my son doesn't always have the confidence in his math skills that I do, we just dove in and started at the beginning. I printed all 40 activities at once so I would leave it open as to how many activities he should do in one sitting.  Depending on how challenging on section would be, some days he would do several in a row.

What We Thought:

As a parent/teacher, I loved this product!  The activities were right on point for bridging the gap between learning a concept to answer questions correctly and grasping skills that help you ask the right questions.  Seeing patterns is something difficult to teach when it doesn't come naturally.  This book gives specific aid to students struggling with getting there on their own.

J gave it a 5 out of 10 because it was hard at first to figure out.  After he figured out how to do each activity he enjoyed it and sped through.  As his teacher, that means it did exactly what it needed to do - challenge his thinking and gradually increase his skill!

Overall, I feel like this is an important resource to have that helps strengthen important skills in preparing for higher math.  It is easy to use and great for multiple students.  I highly recommend this product and feel it is worth the money!  

READER'S SPECIAL: If you order anything from The Critical Thinking Co. for the remainder of 2019, you can receive FREE SHIPPING plus 15% off any size order when you use the coupon: TOSCREW19

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The Homeschool Review Crew reviewed several products for middle school and high school from The Critical Thinking Co.  Follow the link below to check out other products you might be interested in!

Critical Thinking, Math, Vocabulary & Writing Skills {The Critical Thinking Co. Reviews}
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