Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mathematical Reasoning Level F by Critical Thinking Co. (TOS Review)


Teaching critical thinking sounds kind of intimidating, doesn’t it?  Take heart – The Critical Thinking Co. makes it  fun and easy!  So far we have loved everything we’ve ever purchased from this company (admittedly we haven’t done enough of this, but it’s on my list this year to remedy that), so I was elated to learn we’d be reviewing their new Mathematical Reasoning Level F!  I intended to use it with my 6th grader who is a little behind on math, but when I told her, her response was “but I like doing math with ___________” (insert our current curriculum in the blank).  Far be it from me to take her away from her enjoyment of a math program, so I decided to let my 4th grader give it a try (and she was thrilled!).


One of The Critical Thinking Company’s core curriculum products for math, this huge, gorgeous book includes student content and answer guide and provides a complete year’s math curriculum (but can also be used simply as a supplement).  The book, written by Carolyn Anderson, is targeted to 5th graders, but can also be used with younger or older students, depending on their math proficiency.  

Normally priced at $42.99, as of the date of this post it’s on sale for $37.99!

This is a gorgeous book, inside and out – visually appealing and colorful,  it makes getting kids interested in the book simple.  May I repeat – simple

orderofoperation average riddle

This book is written to the following standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

  • Number and Operations
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Measurement
  • Data Analysis and Probability

It covers a wide variety of topics – again, a full year’s curriculum:

  • Analyze
  • Angle
  • Area
  • Calendar
  • Capacity - customary, metric
  • Concept - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
  • Congruence
  • Coordinate System
  • Count
  • Critical Thinking
  • Data Analysis - bar graph, line graph, survey, table, picture
  • Data Collection
  • Decimals - concept, add, subtract, multiple, divide
  • Draw - parallel, perpendicular, by definition
  • Equations Expression, Vocabulary
  • Equivalence
  • Estimation - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
  • Exponents
  • Factors
  • Fractions - form/vocabulary, add, subtract, multiply, divide
  • Graph, Table, Chart, Figure - analyze, represent
  • Inequalities
  • Length - customary, metric
  • Likelihood, Probability
  • Mean, Median, Mode
  • Money - add, subtract, multiply, divide
  • Multiple
  • Negative Numbers
  • Order
  • Order of Operations
  • Patterns - geometric, numeric
  • Percent
  • Perimeter
  • Place Value - expanded notation, number form, word form
  • Polygon
  • Prime/Composite
  • Properties
  • Reflection, Translation, Rotation
  • Rounding
  • Shapes - 2D, 3D
  • Signed Numbers
  • Symmetry
  • Temperature - customary, metric
  • Time
  • Variable as Unknown - in addition, in subtraction, in multiplication, in division
  • Volume
  • Weight - customary, metric
  • Whole Numbers - addition, subtraction, multiplication, division
  • Word Problems

Wow – what a list!  Since Hannah is only 4th grade, she needed extra help with some of the topics, but overall I thought she did great.

Using the spiral method, it is, of course, meant to be done in page order – no skipping around!


It’s a workbook, but it’s such high quality that it doesn’t seem like a workbook.

The books are reproducible for use within your family, so you could use this with each of your children.  My girls, however, want their own books like this, and I’ll admit that a copy of this wouldn’t seem nearly as neat as an original (at least not to my girls).  To get them to willingly do this program, it’s worth having to buy two copies!  Read the Use of Copyrighted Materials Policy.

No lesson prep for me!  Literally, you just pick it up and begin.

The company claims that using these books will increase standardized test scores – and I believe it!

My 4th grader loves puzzles and riddles – so she enjoyed those pages (after she encountered the first, it was hard to keep her from going through and finding the rest) – but it was motivation to work through the other pages to get to the next puzzle!


It truly is a spiral approach – meaning, if you’re used to a master approach, the jumping around with topics might seem odd at first. 

Depending on the student’s math proficiency, you may want to sit with him/her as he’s doing the work.


If you’re not familiar with The Critical Thinking Co., you must (must!) go check them out.  They offer products (both core and supplementary) for reasoning/problem solving, math, science, and language arts.  And if you’re interested in this particular product, the levels start at Mathematical Reasoning Level 1 & 2 (for preschool) and go through this level, with more (I believe) to come!

Request a catalog HERE.

Read about the company’s 50-year history HERE.


By phone:

By Fax:

By Email:

By Mail:
P.O. Box 1610
Seaside, CA 93955-1610

Or submit questions/comments online HERE.


Hannah really liked this but, despite how thorough it is, I’m undecided whether I’d be comfortable having it as my only math curriculum.  I will probably use it as a supplement, though, as any extra math practice is great, especially when there’s not a war involved to get the girls to do it!


To see other reviews of this product, click HERE and look for the linky tools list at the bottom of the post. For giveaways, other product reviews and other fun things, follow the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Crew blog at:


**Disclaimer: As part of the 2011-2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received the product referenced in this review at no cost in exchange for my fair, honest and unbiased (and not necessarily positive) review. No other compensation was received.

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