Critical Thinking Skills Activities for Math

Math is an area in which critical thinking skills are very important. Students should focus on areas within math that promote critical thinking skills. Teachers should encourage students to think critically when dealing with math problems. Critical thinking skills in math enhance a student's ability to learn, be logical and associate math skills with the real world.

  1. Mental Math Skills Activities

    • Critical thinking skills in math can be developed through the use of mental math skills. Mental math should be practiced each math period. Give students a math problem, either on paper or written on the board, and ask them to solve it in their head. Many students will struggle with this at first, but the more that students practice mental math, the more they will learn how to do it. Students should work on the problem independently, and write down the answer when they are finished. When all students are done with the problem, the teacher should lead the class through the steps taken to solve the problem.

    Logic Skills Activities

    • Critical thinking is also found in logic problems. Logic is a difficult area of math, but critical thinking skills can help students with logic skills. Hand out logic problems to each student. Logic problems should be story problems that have several parts that need to be solved using logic reasoning. Examples might be story problems involving information not given explicitly, like the number of eggs in a carton, or the number of days per week mail is delivered. When details are left out of a story problem and students must use their own logic to determine those missing parts, they are thinking critically about those issues.

      Logic problems might also include geometric shapes. Have students create a particular geometric shape using objects they can find in their desk or around the classroom. Critical thinking skills will also help students figure out which objects to place in the shape.

    Relating Skills

    • Many math blocks that students develop come from being unfamiliar with how math is used in real life. Critical thinking skills can also relate math back to life in general. Work with money, creating budgets and investments to help students logically place math into the context of a life that they can understand. Critically thinking about the areas of math that overlap with real life helps students make connections and enhance skills.

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