7 Tech Tools That Foster Critical Thinking Skills

September 25, 2013
Ellen Holderman
Common Sense Education

CATEGORIES In the Classroom, Technology Integration, Tools

This Top-Pick List Friday we are taking a look at great tech tools that spur critical thinking. Students love opportunities to dive into problems that might not have clear answers. Uncertainty breeds new perspectives and fresh ideas emerge. 

To see the rating of each app, game, or website, visit the Top-Picks List "Tech that Spurs Critical Thinking." 





Lifeboat to Mars
Lifeboat to Mars is an ecosystem simulator hosted by PBS Kids Go! An interplanetary ark transports microbes, plants, and animals from Earth to Mars to create an ecosystem capable of supporting terrestrial life. Read full review.

Sid Meier's Civilization V
Civilization V is the latest entry in the historic Civilization franchise, the premier turn-based strategy series. Players expand and grow civilizations through time, pursuing historically based -- but ultimately fictionalized -- scientific, political and societal advances as they explore the world, stake their claims, and grow their cultures and cities. Read full review.

The Republia Times
The Republia Times is a browser-based game that's part of a growing genre of smaller games that explore serious, challenging, and often political social issues. The player assumes the role of an editor overseeing what articles appear on the front page of a newspaper in a fictional country that's just had a political revolution. Read full review.

Minecraft is a sandbox game that rewards players for collecting and combining resources into new, useful items that enrich gameplay and help further exploration and creativity. Although it has an “End” zone for players who want to fight the game’s boss (a dragon), Minecraft has no plot - the story is up to the player to define. Read full review.

Numbers League
Numbers League is a math practice app that revolves around an exciting superhero mission. Villains (creatures, not humans) are roaming the town, and number heroes must capture them by matching combinations of numbers to each villain's Kryptonite-like digit that renders them powerless. Read full review.

DragonBox+ teaches kids algebra in a refreshing and unique way. Ten chapters get increasingly complex, and drag-and-drop simplicity teaches kids to solve, balance, and reduce multi-variable equations and overcome fears about learning math. Read full review.

Gamestar Mechanic
Gamestar Mechanic is an online toolset, game, and community that teaches kids how to build games. A series of manga cut-scenes and "missions" ask kids to play, fix, and make different kinds of games built around specific mechanics, like collecting points or jumping. Read full review.


What websites or apps do you use to promote critical thinking? Sign in to comment below.