“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think” (Margaret Mead). The minds of children are growing and developing at exponential rates, and the responsibility bestowed upon adults is to carefully guide and nurture this growth in the most beneficial ways.
Why Teach Logical Reasoning?
We don’t want a future generation that will continue to solve the world’s problems by regurgitating stale solutions, we want to be diligent and intentional in cultivating logical reasoning skills in our kids so they will explore the solutions that will make the world a better place than the one we are leaving them.
To grow from babies learning to navigate their new world into highly functioning adult problem solvers, a lot must be developed along the way. Critical thinking is at the crux of addressing real life situations in constructive and meaningful ways. We must encourage our children to think outside of the box, form their own conclusions, and address problems themselves. As the brilliant Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By prioritizing the rapid development of critical thinking skills in our kids, we can ensure that they will be able to view issues from all angles and work efficiently and creatively to find productive solutions.
In addition to acquiring these critical thinking skills essential for a successful life, logical reasoning is excellent exercise for the brain. Puzzles, brain teasers, strategy board games and other fun logic activities not only strengthen connections in the brain, but they require universal skills required to be a productive human, like patience and attentiveness.
This may feel like a heavy task, and it is daunting to think about where to start when it comes to teaching logical reasoning. How do we, as adults, teach young minds a skill that we aren’t sure of how we developed ourselves?
In sitcoms and movies across America, a common comedic theme is a young child asking “why” after everything their parents say. Perhaps we can relate to this scenario (I know I can), and sometimes out of exhaustion we simply reply, “because I said so!” An excellent tool to deepen logical thinking skills is to turn the tables on them. Ask YOUR child “why” after everything they do and encourage them to find an answer. Questions like “why is the answer 25?” to questions like “why are you feeling sad?” will help children access their critical thinking skills, think through their steps with logic, and deeply foster their emotional intelligence to round them out as highly capable adults.
To students, math is either a subject they love or a subject they loathe. At its core, math is logic. While in early level studies, the memorization of math facts will expedite a child through their classes, but there comes a point when memorization is not enough and the ability to solve complex math problems requires some serious application of logic and reasoning.
Those who love math can see the bridge between the numbers on paper to hypothetical real-world situations, while those who don’t love math feel overwhelmed by the task of memorizing dozens of complicated theorems to pass a test. The student who can see the application of the central limit theorem to the probability that they will win the student council election by adding 5 more minutes to lunch is going to have a much deeper understanding of that complicated statistics theorem than the student who simply memorizes and regurgitates its definition. This is where critical thinking comes in. Each domain within the study of mathematics has limitless applications of logical reasoning that are transferable to real life situations and problems.
Encouraging students to see beyond the rote memorization of math facts to the valuable function they can provide in their own lives is doing the entire world a service by raising a generation of efficient, creative problem-solvers of the future.
How to Get SMART
98th Percentile is a forward-thinking educational platform devoted to molding the capable minds of the future. We see the state of the world and we know that it will need the unique perspective and problem-solving ideas from our kids as they grow into our leaders.
Combining logical reasoning with age-appropriate mathematical domains in an online math Olympiad is a fun way we hope to spark interest in critical thinking in children around the country. Preparing for a math Olympiad is not an easy task, and students must learn strategies to answer questions and solve problems regarding verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, quantitative aptitude and data interpretation.
To register for free click on Math Olympiad
Those students who put forth the effort in tacking the complex problem-solving of 98th Percentile SMART will be at an advantage to their peers in facilitating the growth of that ever-important logical reasoning skill. Prepare for and participate in this innovative American math Olympiad, and get SMART!