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Nonverbal reasoning abilities - resource ideas?

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I'm looking for resource suggestions to challenge my children in their nonverbal reasoning abilities. They all read above grade level, and typically do history and literature above grade level, but they are all working on level for grammar and math (my 8th grader is doing Algebra and my youngest could possibly bump up a level in math, but he has a hard time sitting still).  My kids have all scored high in nonverbal reasoning abilities on the CogAT. My 13yo scored in the 95th percentile, my 10yo scored in the 98th percentile, and my 8yo scored in the 99th percentile. Their composite CogAT scores also ranged 95-99th percentile as well. We haven't really done anything intentionally for nonverbal reasoning ability, other than briefly trying a Building Thinking Skills workbook (Critical Thinking Co.) for the older two a few years ago. They didn't like it, and we were doing a lot of other things. I haven't really pursued it because it is their strength, but now I'm wondering if I ought to offer them some challenges in this area. They do Tapestry of Grace, Rod & Staff English, Math in Focus: A Singapore Approach (the oldest is using Jacob's Algebra this year), and Apologia Science. My oldest has read The Fallacy Detective and loved it. I feel like their workload is pretty heavy and I'm hesitant to add more to their daily work during the school year, unless I can keep it fairly short. My middle child over focuses on the number of things he has to do each day (even though he gets done the quickest), so I'm thinking about just focusing on it for the summer or alternate doing it with his spelling (he'll probably finish All About Spelling in the middle of 6th grade). Do you have any recommendations? Do I just find something and work above grade level?


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I feel like nonverbal reasoning is an area where games, art, and handicrafts can shine. These come to mind: origami, sewing, knitting/crocheting/quilting/etc., "shop" skills like woodworking, tangrams, other puzzles, legos/building sets/blocks, rubix cube, chess, ThinkFun games like RushHour and Chocolate Fix. I'm sure there are more board games, but I can't think of any at the moment. Have lots of different types of maps available to peruse. You may consider just strewing resources and letting them explore on their own.

Math Kangaroo tests also have a lot of nonverbal reasoning questions. The Canadian Math Kangaroo website has lots of practice tests available.

Edited by Black-eyed Suzan
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I'd consider taking another look at building thinking skills for you younger kids, at least. I have an older version of the text (high school to adult level- I think it is level 3?), and have used parts of it for myself, my son, and some middle schoolers that I tutor. I put the focus on being able to give words to their mathematical reasoning, even if the solution is something as simple as "both squares have sides that are the same length." We skip around a lot and treat it like a book of puzzles. I might be totally abusing it as a resource though. I'll admit to my non-verbal reasoning, and understanding of how to teach it efficiently to be lacking 😄

In addition to what Suzan said, logic grid puzzles (I usually just google them)

"brain training" type apps, like Lumosity. Brilliant is another cool app in this subject area that I found (there can be a bit of math involved though, so maybe only appropriate for your eldest.)

I'd take the "maps" to the next level - give orienteering a shot!


For the chess suggestion - chesskid was a cool subscription we had for a while. Lot of "which move would be the best to accomplish the goal" sort of puzzles.



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