Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end – Leonard Nimoy
Logic, can it be taught? Or is it something that is naturally instilled? Actually, it can be taught! Breathe a sigh of relief. It is one of the most important skills to teach in elementary grades because it is a foundational critical thinking skill. Teaching logic to elementary students requires the use of reasoning and deduction to study a problem objectively, thereby allowing you to make a rational conclusion. As a teacher, you use logic all the time when you analyze the facts to address a problem. Logic prepares students for life. It equips them with the reasoning skills needed to navigate the sticky situations of life. And it starts right in your classroom.
What is logic? What are its benefits?
In a nutshell, logic is the science of reasoning that allows you to determine a possible outcome or best choice. Not only is it a crucial skill for real-life application, but it is equally important inside the classroom. There are many benefits to teaching logic to elementary students. First, logic empowers and enables students with the ability to take what information they are given and build upon it. Second, it is the cornerstone of math. Lastly, logical reasoning encourages students to think for themselves, experiment, and even ask the big, out-of-the-box questions.
The best part of teaching logic in the classroom is that it doesn’t have to be boring! There are so many interactive puzzles, games, and activities to keep students engaged and plugged in. Some of my personal favorites include Magic Squares, Sudoku, analogies, matrix logic puzzles, and Which One Doesn’t Belong? puzzlers. Students love solving these types of puzzles and don’t even realize they are creating and forming new reasoning skills. There are a few tips I have for incorporating logic into your instruction.
- Ask “why?” frequently. Teach your students to think for themselves, and not always accept everything they hear at face value. Help them learn how to apply reasoning and proof to their thinking. Answering “why” questions will help students think through the logic they used to solve a problem or come to a conclusion. Help them learn to justify their answers.
- Use a structured, intentional approach. Make it a part of your daily schedule and make it FUN! Students need time to practice it. Help your students to understand the power of thinking and want to get better at it.
- Play games that encourage the use of strategy and logical thinking. There are a plethora of fun games that will help kids develop their logical reasoning skills. Remember the game Battleship we all played as kids? These activities may be used with the whole group in the morning as a daily challenge, in small groups, or in a math center. They are great for early finishers!
How to incorporate it into Classroom Instruction
While logic is an important foundational math skill, it can be taught across any subject. Logical reasoning can be incorporated into ELA, Science, or even Social Studies. It can become a part of morning meetings where you project a logic puzzle. For example, you can give the kiddos a picture of four things, like a football, a baseball, a basketball, and a tennis ball. Ask them “Which One Doesn’t Belong?” Now the fun begins, because there is no one right answer. A football is the only ball that isn’t round, and a baseball is the only one that is not filled with air. What’s really cool is that your kids might create reasons you hadn’t even thought of.
These types of puzzles make for great discussions. To even bump it up a bit more, you can use four seemingly unrelated objects like a pencil, a shovel, a blow dryer, and a stuffed animal. You will be surprised at the reasoning the kids use to decide which one doesn’t belong. The key here is that the reasoning determines whether or not the answer is correct. If the reasoning is logical, the answer is correct.
Although there are many types of logic puzzles, the important thing is to present them in a way that challenges your kids and keeps them engaged. You can have your students work independently or in pairs when teaching logic to elementary students. Logic puzzles are also a great alternative activity for your early finishers.
My Favorite Logic Resources
I love incorporating critical thinking into any season or event. I’ve created logic puzzles to keep your students engaged and thinking every season.
First, with these Winter Logic Puzzles, students can strengthen and develop problem-solving skills as well as making inferences, drawing conclusions, and even comparing and contrasting. Use during centers, as morning warm-up activities, or assign to fast finishers. There is also a Digital Version for those who are teaching remotely. This puzzle resource is perfect for grades K-2. For other winter lessons, check out this blog post.
Second, your students will love catching a leprechaun using this St. Patrick’s Day Logic Puzzle Resource. Students will strengthen both reading and math skills as well as develop logical thinking. Print and laminate for fun themed centers! Available in both color and black and white. I digital version will be added in February.
Lastly, for students finishing early or those who have previously mastered basic and addition and subtraction, these Spring Themed Math Puzzles are on target! This resource contains 24 addition and subtraction logic puzzle task cards to help your students become effective problem solvers by combining math with deductive reasoning. Challenge your students in an interactive way! They will love it.
Critical Thinking is Essential in the Classroom
Critical thinking Activities can be easily strengthened with daily practice. When you teach students how to apply these exercises regularly, you will start to witness how they naturally approach everyday decisions with a more logical perspective. When students grow up and face real-world problems, they will be better equipped to solve them if they have strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They will be ready to think outside the box. Which activity will you choose?!
You can get a sample freebie logic activity when you subscribe to my email list below. If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons! You can join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining the email list, you will also receive freebies for exclusive email subscribers!
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