Critical Thinking Activities

Rubik's Cube in scrambled state

Critical thinking activities can provide differentiated instruction for your learning community. I use critical thinking activities for centers, independent learning projects, and time-fillers. Not only do critical thinking activities challenge learners, but they also help students prepare for real-world situations and standardized tests. How do you decide what activities are appropriate for your learners and when can you fit them? I strive to let students experience a variety of activities such as Brain Teasers, higher-level games, and critical thinking puzzles.
  • Brain Teasers are perfect time fillers and transitional activities. Students can solve a problem independently or with a partner. I would often present the students with a "Problem of the Day" at the beginning of class and then students could think about the solution throughout the day and then we would end the day discussing the solution. Most problems are short and can be completed in a short period of time.
  • Games allow students to learn from one another and work together to solve problems. Higher-level games are a great way to incorporate differentiated learning activities into your classroom setting. Games can be a great center activity or group activity.
  • Critical thinking puzzles can be done independently or in a group setting. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, riddles, and other word and number puzzles can be a great challenge for students. Adults love these types of challenges as well.
Teaching problem-solving strategies, inferring, and drawing conclusions are types of skills taught when participating in critical thinking activities. All students can benefit from these exercises. Whether you are looking for engaging activities for your classroom or homeschooling setting, be sure to consider adding critical thinking activities to your resources. There are many wonderful books and sites dedicated to these types of learning exercises.