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The Thinking Toolbox: Thirty-Five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills
by Nathaniel and Hans Bluedorn
"The Thinking Toolbox," like its predecessor ("The Fallacy Detective") is an introduction in logic and reasoning skills. This book is designed to give your kids the tools they need to reason effectively in a deceptive world. They'll learn about the scientific method, brainstorming, analyzing evidence, and even how to present an argument, plus much more. Each lesson contains an explanation of the lesson with a number of examples, all presented in a humorous, conversational style (like a "real" book rather than a textbook). This is followed by exercises (which can be done orally or on paper) where a sample statement is presented, and the student has to identify the fallacy (if any) being represented. The book also contains several mysteries that your students must solve by applying their newly acquired skills. The subtitle of the book is "Thirty-Five Lessons That Will Build Your Reasoning Skills." There's even an anwer key in the back of the book. I worked through this book with my 3th, 5th, 10th, and 12th graders (another multi-level treasure!). We did it as a "read-aloud." I required them to write down the various reasoning rules in their notebooks, as well as some examples. Then, we worked through the exercises together (sometimes around the breakfast table), conversation-style. My boys actually enjoyed it, and learned a lot (as did I). The lessons are not lengthy, so you can easily use this book to supplement other language arts studies.
Have you ever looked longingly at all those intriguing logic courses out there, but doubted your ability to teach logic to your student? Perhaps you recognize the need for your kids to be equipped to logically defend their faith, their standards, and their decisions, but you yourself never had a formal logic course. Maybe you are concerned that your kids seem unable to see through the propaganda around them and the illogic of their peers. If this is similar to your thought patterns, then you'll want to check out The Thinking Toolbox.