The Mathematical Reasoning series, published by Critical Thinking Press, helps children devise strategies to solve a wide variety of math problems. The books emphasize problem solving and computation to build the math reasoning skills necessary for success in higher level math and math assessments and are written to the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
The activities take children beyond drill-and-practice by using step-by-step, discussion-based problem solving to develop a conceptual bridge between computation and the reasoning required for upper-level math. Activities and units spiral slowly, allowing children to become comfortable with concepts but also challenging them to continue building their math skills.
We had the opportunity to review Level F, which is a 5th grade book. Emily is in 6th grade, but I though this would be useful for review and for approaching concepts in different ways.
The book is very colorful and the pages provide a large variety of activities. I like the workbook format—Many materials for this age group use textbooks that require children to do their work on separate paper. For my distractible child, this is a big plus. Many activities include fun puzzles, including Balance Bender puzzles, which Emily loves. The book uses a spiral approach, with periodic review of previously learned concept. It is designed to be used without a teacher’s manual—all the concepts are explained in the book.
I really like this book for how we are using it. It makes a good review/ extra practice book. Because the pages are colorful and not too long, it seems “fun” to Emily. The lessons vary quite a bit within a section…you won’t find many pages in a row for multiplication, for example. It provides puzzles and critical thinking activities that go beyond the simple mechanics of arithmetic.
I wouldn’t choose this book as my main curriculum, however. First, it seems too easy for the grade level to me. Although it is designed to the NCTM standards, it is easier than other math programs we have used. Second, because it jumps around a lot from one concept to another, I don’t think there is enough practice to master a concept for many children.
I was provided with a free book by Critical Thinking Co. in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.