### Thinking Critically

Teaching critical thinking with task cards rocks for my students!

It combines things my kids love:

- a short and sweet challenge
- riddles and brain teasers
- pictures
- easy-to-handle task cards

I purposely do not give a lot of directions when presenting these to my kiddos. I just model the process by doing the first one with the kids. It never fails that they beam with delight once they figure it out!

### Pictures + Task Card = A Healthy Mind Exercise

These math critical thinking task cards provide good thinking exercise for students. I have taught 2nd grade and 4th grade. I used these cards as centers and for early finishers in both grade levels.

The pictures and size of the card make it less intimidating for my kiddos who shrink from challenges. Here’s how the fun goes:

**If 3 blue apples equals 60, then how much is one blue apple worth? (20)**

**If one blue apple equals 20 and I add two green pencils to make 30, how much is each green pencil worth? (5)**

**Since the value of one green pencil equals 5. When I subtract 2 red apples, my difference is 3, then what is the value of each red apple? (1)**

**So what would be the sum of one red apple, plus a green pencil, and a blue apple? (26)**

### Math Talks

Research shows that discussing and writing about math builds deeper mathematical thinking. These critical thinking task cards give the teacher several opportunities to build math talks into a single math lesson.

The example sentences above show how understanding develops in each area:

- math vocabulary (ex. value, difference, sum)
- algebraic expression (ex. 5-green pencil – __________ 2 red apples = 3)
- fluency with math facts (ex. 20+20+20=60 is connected with 20 x 3=60)
- math symbolism (ex. when one item represents more than the number one)
- mental math skills

I hole-punch one hole in the corner of each card. Then I place them on small metal rings for students to flip from card-to-card.

Or you can use these carrying photo boxes, which is my absolute favorite way to store all my task cards.

I also laminate my task cards for more durability. Here is my FAVORITE at home laminator! I even like it better than our huge laminating machine in the teacher workroom.

Once students really get the hang of these, I challenge them even more by encouraging them to make up their own cards.

This pushes them to the stage of application; the highest thinking order that shows understanding.

The fun continues with Analogy Critical Thinking Task Cards.

**What are some ways you teach critical thinking in your class? **

Share your ideas beautiful butterfly!