Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Summer fun with The Critical Thinking Co.™ || A Homeschool Review

We don't normally take off school in the summer, however, because we have been so busy this year I decided we would take a few weeks off.  We are still working on a few educational things but mostly fun learning.  One of the things we have been working on is The Critical Thinking Co.™.  We have always loved The Critical Thinking Co.™ so I jumped at the opportunity to review Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha.  This has really gotten my kids critical thinking skills going.

What exactly is critical thinking?  Well, the dictionary defines it as the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.  So many people today lack that skill because technology does all the thinking for us.  I don't know about you but I want my children to be able to use thinking skills when trying to figure something out.  This is another reason I love The Critical Thinking Co.™ so much, it encourages just that!

We received the 124+ pages paperback workbook, Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha  A Whodunnit Forensic Mystery. 

Something's Fishy at Lake Iwannafisha

This is recommended for children in grades 5 and up.  This is a fully planned out crime that the students will have to investigate using the evidence provided and thinking skills.  They will learn how to use forensic evidence in anthropology, arson, ballistics, counterfeit money, death investigation, document and handwriting analysis, and fingerprints.  They will also learn how to review crime scene reports, witness statements, and forensic lab reports.  It can be done individually or as a group.  We decided to do it as a group with three of my kiddos.  They are in 3rd, 5th, and 6th grade. 

When you first get your book DO NOT hand it over to the kids right away because there are teacher's instructions in there and witness profiles, suspect profiles, missing persons profiles, etc.  Things for your eyes only.  HaHa!

I went over the teacher instructions by myself and then went over the forensic evidence lessons with the kids. You can break that up into a few days but we crammed it into one day.  

The kids then read the case file introduction.  In this particular case, the police were called out to Hartman's fishing cabin.  Upon their arrival, they found a building in flames, a dead body, scattered bones in the woods,  and stacks of money.  My little detectives are working hard to solve this crime.  They need to find out who started the fire, who killed the person and why, where did the money come from, who do the bones belong to, and more.  With the evidence provided and some critical thinking, the kids should be able to find all the answers they need and solve the case.  
After the kids read over the case introduction they read the crime scene report and filled out their investigation notes and decided who they wanted to interview and what they hoped to gain from each interview.  They even got a little creative and made a case folder to keep their information top secret.  I, the sergeant, will provide the detectives with more information upon their request as this investigation unfolds. 

I thought it would be fun to act out the Witness statement so I let the kids ask the questions and I answered them according to the statement as if I were the person in question.

We have not finished our investigation just yet, but we are diligently working on it.  In the next few days, the little detectives will continue going over the witness reports, discuss person of interest, review missing persons' reports to try and determine who the bones may belong to, and more.  I hope we crack this case soon!  

Our final thoughts

My 6th-grade son said, " So far I like this it helps get you to thinking.  It would be great for someone who wants to be a detective.  It started off boring until I got into it.  It seems like I am solving a real crime scene.  I can't wait to solve it."

My 5th-grade daughter said, "I love this!  It is really fun it and doesn't even seem like school work.  I enjoy it because it seems like I am in a real crime scene. I like how it gives good details like actual names and dates because it seems more realistic.  I, Detective W. Cooks can't wait to solve this case.  I wish there were more cases in this book for us to solve."

My 3rd-grade son said, "I like this and how you are able to solve the case and you have partners to work on it with you.  I like how it gives you the people who were involved.  I liked looking at the map."

Mama thoughts

We are having so much fun with this.  It has not only brought out those critical thinking skills but also creativity.  The kids woke up this morning reporting to work as if they were real detectives.  It took a while for me to get into it because I was overwhelmed with all the prereading but once we got going it's been fun!  I know that it says this could be done individually or in a group, but I would highly suggest working on it as a group.  The kids were able to bounce ideas off one another, we got to act out some of the scenes, etc.  This is a great way to bring some fun into learning.  

The Critical Thinking Co.™ has been so generous as to offer our readers with the following offers.

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The Crew had the opportunity to review a few other titles from The Critical Thinking Co.™ check out some of the other great reviews by clicking the banner below.

Critical Thinking, Understanding Math & Vocabulary {The Critical Thinking Co.™ Reviews}

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