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8 Critical Thinking Apps for K-12 Students

8 Critical Thinking Apps for K-12 Students

By the Whooo’s Reading Blog Team

Did you know 45 percent of college students lack critical thinking skills, according to a report in Educational Measurement? Yet the ability to assimilate data, draw conclusions and demonstrate what they know—critical thinking—is critical; much more important than memorizing a list of facts.

This is especially true in the world of STEM, which is the fastest growing job sector in our increasingly digital world.

If you want to prepare your students for success in the modern world, critical thinking can’t be left out of the equation. Bring these tools into your classroom to encourage students to draw conclusions and show what they know, preparing them for the world they’re growing up in.

8 Critical Thinking Apps for K-12

More: 7 Tools to Promote Reflective Thinking

1. MindNode or MindMeister

These mind mapping tools give students a platform to think critically about one single topic. While you don’t need a digital tool to create mind maps, your 21st century students will be more engaged with this technology at their fingertips. Not only will they love brainstorming or uncovering details about a single topic in such a visual manner, but mind maps are effective for many reasons, according to MindMeister:

  • A mind map’s radiant structure directly corresponds to the way our brain stores and retrieves information.
  • A mind map conveys hierarchy and relationships between individual ideas and enables you to see the “big picture”.
  • A mind map makes use of mental triggers (such as pictures, colors and connections) to help your brain memorize things more easily.

2. NeoK12 Flow Chart Games

The simple games provided by NeoK12 are perfect for helping students hone their critical thinking skills. They’ll combine visual and process thinking analysis to complete tasks in the form of fun and engaging games. All games are educational in nature, focused on life sciences, human body, physical sciences and more.

3. Whooo’s Reading

This 21st century reading tool not only gets students excited to pick up more books, but it encourages critical thinking. The high-level questions throw A, B, C and D out the window and give students a chance to show what they know—which is why 88,000 teachers (and counting!) have chosen to bring this tool into their classroom.

“I love that it is so standards based, and that the questions require depth of thinking, not just clicking on a prewritten response.” – Nancy Yandell

What’s more, Whooo’s Reading is standards-aligned and academic leveling allows you to adjust questions for each student’s specific needs. The tool also integrates with Google Classroom, making it easier to bring into the classroom if you’re already a Google Classroom user.

More: 5 Reasons I Use Whooo’s Reading in My Classroom

4. Google Fusion Tables

Being able to assess and analyze data is an increasingly critical skill in today’s world and Google Fusion Tables is a great way for students to practice it. With Google Fusion tables, students can filter and summarize across hundreds of thousands of rows, along with creating chart, map, network graph, or custom layouts. The best part is they can embed and share that information and collaborate with their peers within the table.

5. Block Craft 3D City Building

Students will need to use strategy and problem solving to build their sprawling cities within this simple, yet engaging app. Students can also connect and collaborate with their peers within the app, along with other players within the network. As such, use of this app may require some oversight from the teacher to make sure students are using it as a learning tool.

6. Plague, Inc.

Many of us had Oregon Trail as our critical thinking game growing up. This app is the 21st-century version of that, requiring students to use strategy and critical thinking in a gaming environment. The task of the student is simple: “Your pathogen has just infected ‘Patient Zero’. Now you must bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself.”

The realistic simulation will keep students engaged and the real-world application can help boost retention. With a score of 4.8 out of 5, you can be sure students will be excited to put their critical thinking skills to the test with this app.

More: 5 Tech Tools for Learning by Doing

7. Newsela

This platform gives teachers an easy way to combine current events reading with critical thinking evaluation. After reading an article, students take can take quizzes and respond to open-ended prompts. They can also add annotations within the text to show their understanding, assess the information, and collaboratively evaluate what they’re reading and what it means to them. Like Whooo’s Reading, it also integrates with Google Classroom.

8. Discovery Education Free Puzzle Maker

Encourage critical thinking by letting students to get creative with their learning. Discovery Education’s free puzzle making tool includes word search, mazes, math squares and more. Students can use a tool like the word search to reimagine their vocabulary list. Pair them up in groups of two, with each student creating a word search for the other with that weeks’ vocabulary words; they’ll review the words as they create the puzzle and then reimagine them again as they search for them in the puzzle their peer made.

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8 Critical Thinking Apps for K-12

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