Friday, April 20, 2012

TOS Crew Mathematical Reasoning from Critical Thinking Review!

When you have a friend who speaks highly about a product, it is natural to want to check it out.  I was very happy to see for myself if  Mathematical Reasoning Level F was really as wonderful as she had said.

Mathematical Reasoning Level F from Critical Thinking

"All the books in this series are designed to make students think critically.  Students who have worked in one or more of the previous books are likely to find this book challenging, but not too challenging.  Students who have not used the previous books are likely to find this book more challenging, but should eventually catch up and benefit from the exposure to math reasoning."


Right off the bat, my 5th grader and I noticed how colorful the entire book is.  Every page is BURSTING with color!

I also noticed that this book is Spiral in its' approach.  Spiral means that a topic is covered for only a few pages and then there is a gap before it is gone over again.

My 5th grader is an average math student, and his current curriculum is an understated black and white.  He was very excited by the look of this book!

Cracking open the first section, Algebra, we are both a bit puzzled at the flow of work.  Multi-digit addition and subtraction, rounding, fill-in multiplication table, simple multiplication, decimals......


Maybe the next section will be better.

Numbers and Operations continues with the same jumping around and mish-mash between money, simple division, prime numbers, measuring angles...

At this point I stop and look ahead to the next section myself.

Order of Operations contains probability, equivalent fractions, exponents, 2 digit division, transformations, finding the mean....

So, when Critical Thinking says its' Math book takes a 'Spiral Approach', they weren't kidding!

My 5th grader settles on a few sections that he doesn't know yet - exponents and decimals.  He was not able to figure out how to work the problems by the examples in the book.  Sitting with him, I had to explain it to him in a different way.

Interestingly enough at the front of the book it does say:  "There is no one correct way to teach the skills presented in this book.  Have fun figuring out different ways to relate the skills to the student's daily life."

I take this to mean, "If you don't get how it's taught in this book, good luck figuring it out on your own!"

While this book is definitely flashy and eye catching, its' whiplash, non-sequiter approach to "teaching" math leaves much to be desired!  I would recommend this book only as a supplement and not as a complete math program unto itself.

Take a peek inside!

Mathematical Reasoning retails for $42.99 and can be found with other Critical Thinking Products like Word Benders, Red Herring Mysteries, Science Detective and much more at:

Here's what other crew members are saying!

I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.


  1. I find the spiral approach ensures my son REALLY knows the work. If he does not understand something like fractions, for example. I go to Barnes and Noble buy a $6 workbook about fractions and work that book until the end. Then we jump right back in where we left off. On occasion Noah has a hard time figuring out something. I usually can help him. Otherwise my husband (math wiz) helps. Noah has been using this curriculum as core math since kindergarten, so he is used to the way it works. The younger grades are easier, of course. I have never found a math curriculum that I liked better. I like the company, the price, and the colorful pages. Noah has always finished every book. Making our 6 year total of completed Math Reasoning pages well over 1,600 pages! He also has scored above average on all of his standardized testingt for math each year. My only complaint is that the series does not continue for 6th grade. It is the kind of math that is hard to jump into if you did not start at the beginning. It can be done, but can be confusing if a different approach was learned first.

    1. Hannah - thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate you sharing your experience with this program!