4 Easy and Exciting Critical Thinking Activities for Middle School

4 Easy and Exciting Critical Thinking Activities for Middle School - Flagstaff Montessori Cedar Campus

As your middle school student continues along their educational journey, critical thinking becomes an increasingly important skill for them to master. One of the best ways to sharpen critical thinking skills — for people of any age — is to practice specific exercises that are centered around the Montessori style of education.

Here are four critical thinking activities you can try with your middle schooler today:

1. Crafting Arguments

Argumentative exercise helps students sharpen their critical thinking skills, but it also helps boost confidence; by the end, students will be much more comfortable speaking in front of others. Ask your child to choose a controversial issue they’re passionate about, then ask them to prepare a one-minute presentation arguing their stance on the issue.

That might sound easy enough, but there’s a catch: In the second part of the exercise, your child must prepare another one-minute presentation in which they argue for the opposite side of the issue. By challenging students to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, these activities help them think critically while also cultivating empathy.

2. The Memory Test

Here’s a critical thinking exercise that only takes a couple of minutes and is a fun way to test your child’s short-term memory skills. 

Here’s how to do it:

  • Find a worksheet with words and pictures on one side (or make your own)
  • Have your child look at the sheet for two minutes to try to commit them all to memory
  • Put the worksheet away and have them list as many as you can remember
  • If they didn’t get them all, repeat the exercise and see if their performance improves

Attention to detail (and the ability to recall the little details) is an essential part of thinking critically, and a memory activity can be a fun way to improve it!

3. Logic Puzzle Escape Room

If you want your child to get the most out of a Montessori middle school experience, the best way to do so is to reinforce the Montessori method at home. In a Montessori classroom, kids learn to work in groups and solve real-life problems; an exciting escape room activity helps them do both!

You’ll need a team-building escape room template (and a group of middle schoolers), but other than that, things work much like a traditional escape room — with the addition of built-in logic puzzles. Each time the group successfully completes a puzzle, they get a “key” that takes them one step closer to escaping. 

If you have an eye for design or enjoy creative projects, you can have a lot of fun crafting an intricate and believable escape room for your child and their friends.

4. The Building Game

Building things isn’t just something meant for younger kids; when you put a group of middle schoolers together, give them an assortment of odds and ends, ask them to build something (like a small house or a bridge), and give them a limited timeframe, they’ll have fun while improving their critical thinking skills! 

Such an exercise also promotes creative thinking and team-building, and the weirder and more off-the-wall the materials, the more fun the challenge becomes!

Is a Montessori Middle School Right for You?

At the Montessori School of Flagstaff, we take pride in shaping the next generation of leaders and creative thinkers. Our Cedar Campus is dedicated exclusively to nurturing middle schoolers and helping them reach their full potential. 

Even if your child has been enrolled in standard schooling until now, it’s not too late to reap the benefits of a Montessori education. These middle school programs focus on more than just academic learning; they also help middle school students boost their self-esteem! If you’re thinking about enrolling or just want to learn more about Montessori and how it works, get in touch with us today!