Critical Thinking Co

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  • Reviewed on Thursday, April 16, 2015
  • Grades Used: 5th
  • Dates used: 2010-present
We really enjoy the Critical Thinking Company's materials, especially Mind Benders and Balance Benders.

Mind Benders are grid logic puzzles that provide only the necessary clues to fill in all the information--the thinking is up to the student. In the beginning, we made a photocopy for me of the puzzle, and the two of us would work it out together, thinking out loud. Fun for adults too! They get progressively more difficult with each higher level book, and solutions are available in the back, along with strategies.

Balance Benders are fun too. No numbers attached to the objects in the lower levels, just objects pictured on a balance that either are level or not. Students choose 2 statements below that are always true, based on the picture. My 10yo dd began to assign numbers to the objects pictured, and she occasionally needs to revise them when they don't work--like when 4 statements make sense instead of just 3. Algebraic thinking!

Great books, very good quality, prices reflect that but online options make things a little more cost-effective.


  • Reviewed on Tuesday, May 25, 2010
  • Grades Used: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th
  • Dates used: 2008-2010
I love the Critical Thinking Company. Request a catalog at their website. They have so many interesting books. I have used their math program (Mathematical Reasoning 350 page workbooks) for three years now. It is not 'scripted' for the teacher/mother. So you need to know your basic math concepts yourself. But it has such a great way of working with numbers. Like I never knew 'repetition subtraction' was a way of solving division problems. They have so many interesting techniques and ways of getting your child to think about numbers.
We also use their Complete The Picture Math. It is an art lesson and a daily math word problem rolled into one. It is my kids favorite book! Very original.
We also use their Building Thinking Skills (350 page workbooks). Good thing it comes with an answer key! It is very challenging. Even at the 1st/2nd grade levels. But in a good way. The company really gets your brain exploring and figuring out things in a way that you otherwise do not normally see them.
Highly recommend the Critical Thinking Company!

In the front of their catalog, it is helpful that they have all of their books laid out in order of grade level and what can be used as 'core' curriculum and what should be handled as 'supplemental'.