How do we get our students to think more deeply during math time? This post shares **how you can begin teaching critical thinking with task cards **for math instruction.

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## Thinking Critically about Math Computation

Teaching math computation in a way that promotes critical thinking rocks for my students!

It combines things my kids love:

- a short and sweet challenge
- riddles and brain teasers
- pictures
- easy-to-handle task cards

**Teaching math computation with math drills worksheets every day bores my kids so much. **

Plus, I notice that it doesn’t lead to mastery with math facts.

I am always looking for ways to engage students with math while also pushing for higher order thinking skills.

**Related Post: Promoting Critical Thinking with Math Riddles (FREEBIE Included)**

So here’s a fun way to get your students to practice their math facts while also practicing some critical thinking!

## Math Critical Thinking with Task Cards

With these math task cards, I model the process by doing a sample with the kids. It never fails that they beam with delight once they figure it out!

## Pictures + Task Card = A Healthy Mind Exercise

These math critical thinking task cards provide good thinking exercise for students. I have taught 2nd grade and 4th grade. I used these cards as centers and for early finishers in both grade levels.

The pictures and size of the card make it less intimidating for my kiddos who shrink from challenges. Here’s how the fun goes:

**If 3 blue apples equals 60, then how much is one blue apple worth? (20)**

**If one blue apple equals 20 and I add two green pencils to make 30, how much is each green pencil worth? (5)**

**Since the value of one green pencil equals 5. When I subtract 2 red apples, my difference is 3, then what is the value of each red apple? (1)**

**So what would be the sum of one red apple, plus a green pencil, and a blue apple? (26)**

## Math Talks to Gauge Student Understanding

**Research shows that discussing and writing about math builds deeper mathematical thinking. **

[tweetshare tweet=”Research shows that discussing and writing about math builds deeper mathematical thinking. #mathinstruction” username=”Y7#&09P0^Gqp6Wj(!al6J*#cbD7idME):1:0″]

These critical thinking task cards give the teacher several opportunities to build math talks into a single math lesson.

The example sentences above show how understanding develops in each area:

- Practicing math vocabulary (ex. value, difference, sum) in class discussion
- Encouraging algebraic expression (ex. 5-green pencil – __________ 2 red apples = 3)
- Building fluency with math facts (ex. 20+20+20=60 is connected with 20 x 3=60)
- Engaging students’ understanding of math symbolism (ex. when one item represents more than the number one)
- Strengthening mental math skills

I hole-punch one hole in the corner of each card. Then I place them on small metal rings for students to flip from card-to-card.

**To find out more about these math critical thinking task cards, you can click HERE. **

Or you can use these carrying photo boxes, which is my absolute favorite way to store all my task cards.

I also laminate my task cards for more durability. Here is my FAVORITE at home laminator! I even like it better than our huge laminating machine in the teacher workroom.

Once students really get the hang of these, I challenge them even more by encouraging them to make up their own math computation cards. The set featured here has extension cards for students who are ready for that extra push.

This helps them advance to the stage of application; the highest thinking order that shows understanding.

**What are some ways you teach math computation or critical thinking in your class? **

Share your ideas beautiful butterfly!