Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crypto Mind Benders–Classic Jokes

02302Crypto Mind Benders: Classic Jokes
Published at The Critical Thinking Co

About the product

Grades: 3-12+   Subject: Mathematics

Develops algebraic thinking and teaches basic programming operations.

Crypto Mind Benders® develop mathematical reasoning and critical thinking skills that are vital to achieving academic and lifelong success. They are great for introducing students to encryption, algebraic thinking, and basic computer programming operations.

Crypto Mind Benders® compel students to break a secret code so they can identify a hidden joke or quotation. To break the code, students must apply logic and mathematical reasoning to 3 sets of clues. The challenge is getting all the information out of each clue! Once students break the code, they can solve the cryptogram by substituting the numbers with their corresponding code letters. The Quotations book familiarizes students with classic quotations from famous thinkers such as Albert Einstein, Voltaire, Socrates, and more! The Jokes edition familiarizes students with classic, good-humored, jokes that both kids and adults enjoy.

Crypto Mind Benders® develop several of the deductive thinking skills taught in the award-winning Mind Benders® series without the use of word problems. This feature makes these thinking-rich activities easier to use with non-English speakers. The classic quotes and jokes also help ELL/ESL learners further understand the English language and culture. Perfect for school, home, and travel, they are popular as brain jump-start, extra credit, sponge, or reward activities. The exercises are also great for adult cognitive maintenance.

Our Thoughts

I was a bit curious about this product and was looking forward to have it in my hands.   When I got it, I almost panicked because I thought it was way over my own head… so I thought it would be difficult for my oldest to go through it as well.   So I decided to try a couple of these exercises myself before I put it in his hands.

After I sat at a quiet place and started going through the algebraic problems, I was able to identify the corresponding numbers for the letters.    The goal is to identify the numbers for each letter and then go through the secret code and decorticate it to discover the joke hidden behind it.   Going through this process of basic algebraic operations was fun and reminded me that soon my son will start Algebra.  What a great way to introduce him to these mathematical operations than with a secret code to break.

What I particularly like about the Critical Thinking products is that you will always have the answer guide in the book and that the content is reproducible for your own family.     I particularly favor reproducible products for our homeschool.  With four kids at various ages, knowing that I can make copies means a lot for us and our budget!

So after I have gone through a couple of problems and smiled at the jokes, I decided that Alexandre should try them as well.   He was able to do them and resolve the cryptogram at the bottom of the page.   For the first one, I had to explain to him how it worked.   He completed it within about 10 minutes.  He decided to do the second one right away and experience a problem at one point as he had not solved the first section properly.  He had to go back and rethink about it to find the proper solution.  

We both looked the following pages and found that the exercises were getting more difficult as you advance in the book.    It is a good way of stretching our thinking skills and to develop and ability of resolving algebraic problems.    Are you curious to see what the pages look like?  Here’s an example taken from the preview on the Critical Thinking page.

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In conclusion, I highly recommend this product because it will help your student to develop a algebraic thinking approach.   Not only is it good for student but I am also recommending it for adults who want to keep their mind sharpen with critical thinking skills.    The jokes are clean and will bring a smile to younger and older generation.    Make it a competition in your house – see who will break the code the fastest… Will it be you, the adult, or your child?    Wouldn’t it be a fun way to spend time together and develop the competitive skills in everyone?

Available for purchase directly from The Critical Thinking Co for the price of 10.99$ for the paperback edition and the ebook edition.  You could also probably find it at many homeschooling online stores as well like Rainbow Resources.

Also available is the Crypto Mind Benders: Famous Quotations.

Disclaimer: Thanks to The Critical Thinking Co. for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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