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James Madison Critical Thinking Course

Captivating Crime-Related Scenarios

Grades: 8-12+

Critical Thinking, Tests

Full Curriculum

Grades: 8-12+

Critical Thinking, Tests

Full Curriculum

  •  Multiple Award Winner
**A required Teacher's Manual is sold separately for this product.**

Components Sold Separately

Instruction/Answer Guide

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Description & Features

This comprehensive 544-page critical thinking course engages students in captivating crime-solving related scenarios to develop essential critical thinking skills. The step-by-step lessons and activities are easy-to-use and help students transfer these vital skills throughout academia and life.  The course can be used with sharp students beginning in 8th grade, above average high school students, and adults.

The course teaches more than 65 critical thinking related skills and concepts that will improve academic performance across the curriculum:

  • Interpret and apply complex texts, instructions, illustrations, etc.
  • Recognize and clarify issues, claims, arguments, and explanations
  • Distinguish: conclusions, premises (reasons), arguments, explanations, assumptions (stated/unstated), issues, claims (statements), suppositions, unstated conclusions, unstated premises and implications
  • Recognize ambiguity and unclearness in claims, arguments, and explanations
  • Distinguish necessary and sufficient conditions
  • Describe the structure or outline of arguments and explanations: confirmation, disconfirmation
  • Evaluate whether an inductive argument is strong or weak
  • Evaluate claims and arguments in terms of criteria such as: consistency, relevance, support
  • Evaluate analogical arguments and inductive generalization arguments in terms of criteria, such as: the greater the number of similarities between the conclusion and the premises regarding the sample, the stronger the argument
  • Assess the relevance of claims to other claims, and to questions, descriptions, representations, procedures, information, directives, rules, principles, etc.
  • Evaluate whether a deductive argument is valid or invalid (logical form): categorical, truth-functional, and semantic/definitional
  • Distinguish supporting, conflicting, compatible, and equivalent claims, arguments, explanations, descriptions, representations, etc.
  • Identify and avoid errors in reasoning, informal fallacies: begging the question, equivocation, post hoc, ergo propter hoc (after that, therefore, because of that), false dilemma/false dichotomy fallacy (line drawing fallacy, perfectionist fallacy), smoke screen/red herring/rationalizing, hasty generalization, appeal to ridicule/sarcasm, ad hominem fallacy (personal attack, poisoning the well), appeal to illegitimate authority, loaded question, evidence surrogate, stereotyping , appeal to consequences (favorable or unfavorable), "wishful thinking", genetic fallacy, biased generalization, anecdotal evidence
  • Discern whether pairs of claims are consistent, contrary, contradictory, or paradoxical

Teaching Support
The 102-page Answer Guide (required, sold separately) includes teaching suggestions and answers. No previous background in logic is required to teach these activities.

Note: The James Madison Test of Critical Thinking Forms A and B provide a direct assessment of skills covered in this book (contact us for licensing).

Product Details

Item#: 05705PBP
Author(s): William O'Meara, Ph.D. and Daniel Flage, Ph.D.
TOC: View Table Of Contents
Type: Student Book
Media: Paperback Book
License: Reproducible
ISBN–10: 1-60144-145-2
ISBN–13: 978-1-60144-145-4
Pages: 544, perforated


2015 Practical Homeschooling Reader Awards™ - Honorable Mention, Logic Category Cathy Duffy 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum

Product Reviews Write a review for this product

"Each of the eight chapters ends with a short but well-designed quiz, making it easy to give a homeschool grade for this course." - Annie Kate, Homeschooling mom
"The indispensable Instruction/Answer Guide with its clear answers and explanations makes it possible to use this course in your homeschool even if you do not know logic yourself." - Annie Kate, Homeschooling mom
"The course not only equips the learner to [analyze arguments], but also occasionally gives a chance to see the effect of the authors’ assumptions on some of their conclusions. This unexpected real-life application of the material, though rare, is a definite bonus." - Annie Kate, Homeschooling mom
"As we discovered, the James Madison Critical Thinking Course is not a fluffy add-on to an already full schedule but a course in its own right." - Annie Kate, Homeschooling mom
"The formal teaching pages are full of well-organized information, presented concisely and often worth memorizing. The quizzes test this information." - Annie Kate, Homeschooling mom
"If you want your high school students to learn logic and critical thinking, the James Madison Critical Thinking Course is wonderful resource. It’s fun, relevant, and challenging, and comes with a clear and thorough answer key. While not a formal logic course, it is probably more useful than such a course could ever be, and it would also be a good preparation for one." - Annie Kate, Homeschooling mom