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100+ Critical Thinking Questions for Students To Ask About Anything

Critical thinkers question everything.

examples of critical thinking questions for students

In an age of “fake news” claims and constant argument about pretty much any issue, critical thinking skills are key. Teach your students that it’s vital to ask questions about everything, but that it’s also important to ask the right sorts of questions. Students can use these critical thinking questions with fiction or nonfiction texts. They’re also useful when discussing important issues or trying to understand others’ motivations in general.

“Who” Critical Thinking Questions

Questions like these help students ponder who’s involved in a story and how the actions affect them. They’ll also consider who’s telling the tale and how reliable that narrator might be.

  • Is the protagonist?
  • Is the antagonist?
  • Caused harm?
  • Is harmed as a result?
  • Was the most important character?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Is responsible?
  • Is most directly affected?
  • Should have won?
  • Will benefit?
  • Would be affected by this?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Makes the decisions?

“What” Critical Thinking Questions

Ask questions that explore issues more deeply, including those that might not be directly answered in the text.

  • Background information do I know or need to know?
  • Is the main message?
  • Are the defining characteristics?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Questions or concerns do I have?
  • Don’t I understand?
  • Evidence supports the author’s conclusion?
  • Would it be like if … ?
  • Could happen if … ?
  • Other outcomes might have happened?
  • Questions would you have asked?
  • Would you ask the author about … ?
  • Was the point of … ?
  • Should have happened instead?
  • Is that character’s motive?
  • Else could have changed the whole story?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Can you conclude?
  • Would your position have been in that situation?
  • Would happen if … ?
  • Makes your position stronger?
  • Was the turning point?
  • Is the point of the question?
  • Did it mean when … ?
  • Is the other side of this argument?
  • Was the purpose of … ?
  • Does ______ mean?
  • Is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • Does the evidence say?
  • Assumptions are you making?
  • Is a better alternative?
  • Are the strengths of the argument?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Are the weaknesses of the argument?
  • Is the difference between _______ and _______?

“Where” Critical Thinking Questions

Think about where the story is set and how it affects the actions. Plus, consider where and how you can learn more.

  • Would this issue be a major problem?
  • Are areas for improvement?
  • Did the story change?
  • Would you most often find this problem?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Are there similar situations?
  • Would you go to get answers to this problem?
  • Can this be improved?
  • Can you get more information?
  • Will this idea take us?

“When” Critical Thinking Questions

Think about timing and the effect it has on the characters or people involved.

  • Is this acceptable?
  • Is this unacceptable?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Does this become a problem?
  • Is the best time to take action?
  • Will we be able to tell if it worked?
  • Is it time to reassess?
  • Should we ask for help?
  • Is the best time to start?
  • Is it time to stop?
  • Would this benefit society?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Has this happened before?

“Why” Critical Thinking Questions

Asking “why” might be one of the most important parts of critical thinking. Exploring and understanding motivation helps develop empathy and make sense of difficult situations.

  • Is _________ happening?
  • Have we allowed this to happen?
  • Should people care about this issue?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Is this a problem?
  • Did the character say … ?
  • Did the character do … ?
  • Is this relevant?
  • Did the author write this?
  • Did the author decide to … ?
  • Is this important?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Did that happen?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Do you think I (he, she, they) asked that question?
  • Is that answer the best one?
  • Do we need this today?

“How” Critical Thinking Questions

Use these questions to consider how things happen and whether change is possible.

  • Do we know this is true?
  • Does the language used affect the story?
  • Would you solve … ?
  • Is this different from other situations?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Is this similar to … ?
  • Would you use … ?
  • Does the location affect the story?
  • Could the story have ended differently?
  • Does this work?
  • Could this be harmful?
  • Does this connect with what I already know?
  • Else could this have been handled?
  • Should they have responded?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Would you feel about … ?
  • Does this change the outcome?
  • Did you make that decision?
  • Does this benefit you/others?
  • Does this hurt you/others?
  • Could this problem be avoided?

More Critical Thinking Questions

Here are more questions to help probe further and deepen understanding.

  • Can you give me an example?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Do you agree with … ?
  • Can you compare this with … ?
  • Can you defend the actions of … ?
  • Could this be interpreted differently?
  • Is the narrator reliable?
  • Does it seem too good to be true?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

  • Is ______ a fact or an opinion?

What are your favorite critical thinking questions? Come exchange ideas on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out 10 tips for teaching kids to be awesome critical thinkers ., you might also like.

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41+ Critical Thinking Examples (Definition + Practices)

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Critical thinking is an essential skill in our information-overloaded world, where figuring out what is fact and fiction has become increasingly challenging.

But why is critical thinking essential? Put, critical thinking empowers us to make better decisions, challenge and validate our beliefs and assumptions, and understand and interact with the world more effectively and meaningfully.

Critical thinking is like using your brain's "superpowers" to make smart choices. Whether it's picking the right insurance, deciding what to do in a job, or discussing topics in school, thinking deeply helps a lot. In the next parts, we'll share real-life examples of when this superpower comes in handy and give you some fun exercises to practice it.

Critical Thinking Process Outline

a woman thinking

Critical thinking means thinking clearly and fairly without letting personal feelings get in the way. It's like being a detective, trying to solve a mystery by using clues and thinking hard about them.

It isn't always easy to think critically, as it can take a pretty smart person to see some of the questions that aren't being answered in a certain situation. But, we can train our brains to think more like puzzle solvers, which can help develop our critical thinking skills.

Here's what it looks like step by step:

Spotting the Problem: It's like discovering a puzzle to solve. You see that there's something you need to figure out or decide.

Collecting Clues: Now, you need to gather information. Maybe you read about it, watch a video, talk to people, or do some research. It's like getting all the pieces to solve your puzzle.

Breaking It Down: This is where you look at all your clues and try to see how they fit together. You're asking questions like: Why did this happen? What could happen next?

Checking Your Clues: You want to make sure your information is good. This means seeing if what you found out is true and if you can trust where it came from.

Making a Guess: After looking at all your clues, you think about what they mean and come up with an answer. This answer is like your best guess based on what you know.

Explaining Your Thoughts: Now, you tell others how you solved the puzzle. You explain how you thought about it and how you answered. 

Checking Your Work: This is like looking back and seeing if you missed anything. Did you make any mistakes? Did you let any personal feelings get in the way? This step helps make sure your thinking is clear and fair.

And remember, you might sometimes need to go back and redo some steps if you discover something new. If you realize you missed an important clue, you might have to go back and collect more information.

Critical Thinking Methods

Just like doing push-ups or running helps our bodies get stronger, there are special exercises that help our brains think better. These brain workouts push us to think harder, look at things closely, and ask many questions.

It's not always about finding the "right" answer. Instead, it's about the journey of thinking and asking "why" or "how." Doing these exercises often helps us become better thinkers and makes us curious to know more about the world.

Now, let's look at some brain workouts to help us think better:

1. "What If" Scenarios

Imagine crazy things happening, like, "What if there was no internet for a month? What would we do?" These games help us think of new and different ideas.

Pick a hot topic. Argue one side of it and then try arguing the opposite. This makes us see different viewpoints and think deeply about a topic.

3. Analyze Visual Data

Check out charts or pictures with lots of numbers and info but no explanations. What story are they telling? This helps us get better at understanding information just by looking at it.

4. Mind Mapping

Write an idea in the center and then draw lines to related ideas. It's like making a map of your thoughts. This helps us see how everything is connected.

There's lots of mind-mapping software , but it's also nice to do this by hand.

5. Weekly Diary

Every week, write about what happened, the choices you made, and what you learned. Writing helps us think about our actions and how we can do better.

6. Evaluating Information Sources

Collect stories or articles about one topic from newspapers or blogs. Which ones are trustworthy? Which ones might be a little biased? This teaches us to be smart about where we get our info.

There are many resources to help you determine if information sources are factual or not.

7. Socratic Questioning

This way of thinking is called the Socrates Method, named after an old-time thinker from Greece. It's about asking lots of questions to understand a topic. You can do this by yourself or chat with a friend.

Start with a Big Question:

"What does 'success' mean?"

Dive Deeper with More Questions:

"Why do you think of success that way?" "Do TV shows, friends, or family make you think that?" "Does everyone think about success the same way?"

"Can someone be a winner even if they aren't rich or famous?" "Can someone feel like they didn't succeed, even if everyone else thinks they did?"

Look for Real-life Examples:

"Who is someone you think is successful? Why?" "Was there a time you felt like a winner? What happened?"

Think About Other People's Views:

"How might a person from another country think about success?" "Does the idea of success change as we grow up or as our life changes?"

Think About What It Means:

"How does your idea of success shape what you want in life?" "Are there problems with only wanting to be rich or famous?"

Look Back and Think:

"After talking about this, did your idea of success change? How?" "Did you learn something new about what success means?"

socratic dialogue statues

8. Six Thinking Hats 

Edward de Bono came up with a cool way to solve problems by thinking in six different ways, like wearing different colored hats. You can do this independently, but it might be more effective in a group so everyone can have a different hat color. Each color has its way of thinking:

White Hat (Facts): Just the facts! Ask, "What do we know? What do we need to find out?"

Red Hat (Feelings): Talk about feelings. Ask, "How do I feel about this?"

Black Hat (Careful Thinking): Be cautious. Ask, "What could go wrong?"

Yellow Hat (Positive Thinking): Look on the bright side. Ask, "What's good about this?"

Green Hat (Creative Thinking): Think of new ideas. Ask, "What's another way to look at this?"

Blue Hat (Planning): Organize the talk. Ask, "What should we do next?"

When using this method with a group:

  • Explain all the hats.
  • Decide which hat to wear first.
  • Make sure everyone switches hats at the same time.
  • Finish with the Blue Hat to plan the next steps.

9. SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis is like a game plan for businesses to know where they stand and where they should go. "SWOT" stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

There are a lot of SWOT templates out there for how to do this visually, but you can also think it through. It doesn't just apply to businesses but can be a good way to decide if a project you're working on is working.

Strengths: What's working well? Ask, "What are we good at?"

Weaknesses: Where can we do better? Ask, "Where can we improve?"

Opportunities: What good things might come our way? Ask, "What chances can we grab?"

Threats: What challenges might we face? Ask, "What might make things tough for us?"

Steps to do a SWOT Analysis:

  • Goal: Decide what you want to find out.
  • Research: Learn about your business and the world around it.
  • Brainstorm: Get a group and think together. Talk about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  • Pick the Most Important Points: Some things might be more urgent or important than others.
  • Make a Plan: Decide what to do based on your SWOT list.
  • Check Again Later: Things change, so look at your SWOT again after a while to update it.

Now that you have a few tools for thinking critically, let’s get into some specific examples.

Everyday Examples

Life is a series of decisions. From the moment we wake up, we're faced with choices – some trivial, like choosing a breakfast cereal, and some more significant, like buying a home or confronting an ethical dilemma at work. While it might seem that these decisions are disparate, they all benefit from the application of critical thinking.

10. Deciding to buy something

Imagine you want a new phone. Don't just buy it because the ad looks cool. Think about what you need in a phone. Look up different phones and see what people say about them. Choose the one that's the best deal for what you want.

11. Deciding what is true

There's a lot of news everywhere. Don't believe everything right away. Think about why someone might be telling you this. Check if what you're reading or watching is true. Make up your mind after you've looked into it.

12. Deciding when you’re wrong

Sometimes, friends can have disagreements. Don't just get mad right away. Try to see where they're coming from. Talk about what's going on. Find a way to fix the problem that's fair for everyone.

13. Deciding what to eat

There's always a new diet or exercise that's popular. Don't just follow it because it's trendy. Find out if it's good for you. Ask someone who knows, like a doctor. Make choices that make you feel good and stay healthy.

14. Deciding what to do today

Everyone is busy with school, chores, and hobbies. Make a list of things you need to do. Decide which ones are most important. Plan your day so you can get things done and still have fun.

15. Making Tough Choices

Sometimes, it's hard to know what's right. Think about how each choice will affect you and others. Talk to people you trust about it. Choose what feels right in your heart and is fair to others.

16. Planning for the Future

Big decisions, like where to go to school, can be tricky. Think about what you want in the future. Look at the good and bad of each choice. Talk to people who know about it. Pick what feels best for your dreams and goals.

choosing a house

Job Examples

17. solving problems.

Workers brainstorm ways to fix a machine quickly without making things worse when a machine breaks at a factory.

18. Decision Making

A store manager decides which products to order more of based on what's selling best.

19. Setting Goals

A team leader helps their team decide what tasks are most important to finish this month and which can wait.

20. Evaluating Ideas

At a team meeting, everyone shares ideas for a new project. The group discusses each idea's pros and cons before picking one.

21. Handling Conflict

Two workers disagree on how to do a job. Instead of arguing, they talk calmly, listen to each other, and find a solution they both like.

22. Improving Processes

A cashier thinks of a faster way to ring up items so customers don't have to wait as long.

23. Asking Questions

Before starting a big task, an employee asks for clear instructions and checks if they have the necessary tools.

24. Checking Facts

Before presenting a report, someone double-checks all their information to make sure there are no mistakes.

25. Planning for the Future

A business owner thinks about what might happen in the next few years, like new competitors or changes in what customers want, and makes plans based on those thoughts.

26. Understanding Perspectives

A team is designing a new toy. They think about what kids and parents would both like instead of just what they think is fun.

School Examples

27. researching a topic.

For a history project, a student looks up different sources to understand an event from multiple viewpoints.

28. Debating an Issue

In a class discussion, students pick sides on a topic, like school uniforms, and share reasons to support their views.

29. Evaluating Sources

While writing an essay, a student checks if the information from a website is trustworthy or might be biased.

30. Problem Solving in Math

When stuck on a tricky math problem, a student tries different methods to find the answer instead of giving up.

31. Analyzing Literature

In English class, students discuss why a character in a book made certain choices and what those decisions reveal about them.

32. Testing a Hypothesis

For a science experiment, students guess what will happen and then conduct tests to see if they're right or wrong.

33. Giving Peer Feedback

After reading a classmate's essay, a student offers suggestions for improving it.

34. Questioning Assumptions

In a geography lesson, students consider why certain countries are called "developed" and what that label means.

35. Designing a Study

For a psychology project, students plan an experiment to understand how people's memories work and think of ways to ensure accurate results.

36. Interpreting Data

In a science class, students look at charts and graphs from a study, then discuss what the information tells them and if there are any patterns.

Critical Thinking Puzzles

critical thinking tree

Not all scenarios will have a single correct answer that can be figured out by thinking critically. Sometimes we have to think critically about ethical choices or moral behaviors. 

Here are some mind games and scenarios you can solve using critical thinking. You can see the solution(s) at the end of the post.

37. The Farmer, Fox, Chicken, and Grain Problem

A farmer is at a riverbank with a fox, a chicken, and a grain bag. He needs to get all three items across the river. However, his boat can only carry himself and one of the three items at a time. 

Here's the challenge:

  • If the fox is left alone with the chicken, the fox will eat the chicken.
  • If the chicken is left alone with the grain, the chicken will eat the grain.

How can the farmer get all three items across the river without any item being eaten? 

38. The Rope, Jar, and Pebbles Problem

You are in a room with two long ropes hanging from the ceiling. Each rope is just out of arm's reach from the other, so you can't hold onto one rope and reach the other simultaneously. 

Your task is to tie the two rope ends together, but you can't move the position where they hang from the ceiling.

You are given a jar full of pebbles. How do you complete the task?

39. The Two Guards Problem

Imagine there are two doors. One door leads to certain doom, and the other leads to freedom. You don't know which is which.

In front of each door stands a guard. One guard always tells the truth. The other guard always lies. You don't know which guard is which.

You can ask only one question to one of the guards. What question should you ask to find the door that leads to freedom?

40. The Hourglass Problem

You have two hourglasses. One measures 7 minutes when turned over, and the other measures 4 minutes. Using just these hourglasses, how can you time exactly 9 minutes?

41. The Lifeboat Dilemma

Imagine you're on a ship that's sinking. You get on a lifeboat, but it's already too full and might flip over. 

Nearby in the water, five people are struggling: a scientist close to finding a cure for a sickness, an old couple who've been together for a long time, a mom with three kids waiting at home, and a tired teenager who helped save others but is now in danger. 

You can only save one person without making the boat flip. Who would you choose?

42. The Tech Dilemma

You work at a tech company and help make a computer program to help small businesses. You're almost ready to share it with everyone, but you find out there might be a small chance it has a problem that could show users' private info. 

If you decide to fix it, you must wait two more months before sharing it. But your bosses want you to share it now. What would you do?

43. The History Mystery

Dr. Amelia is a history expert. She's studying where a group of people traveled long ago. She reads old letters and documents to learn about it. But she finds some letters that tell a different story than what most people believe. 

If she says this new story is true, it could change what people learn in school and what they think about history. What should she do?

The Role of Bias in Critical Thinking

Have you ever decided you don’t like someone before you even know them? Or maybe someone shared an idea with you that you immediately loved without even knowing all the details. 

This experience is called bias, which occurs when you like or dislike something or someone without a good reason or knowing why. It can also take shape in certain reactions to situations, like a habit or instinct. 

Bias comes from our own experiences, what friends or family tell us, or even things we are born believing. Sometimes, bias can help us stay safe, but other times it stops us from seeing the truth.

Not all bias is bad. Bias can be a mechanism for assessing our potential safety in a new situation. If we are biased to think that anything long, thin, and curled up is a snake, we might assume the rope is something to be afraid of before we know it is just a rope.

While bias might serve us in some situations (like jumping out of the way of an actual snake before we have time to process that we need to be jumping out of the way), it often harms our ability to think critically.

How Bias Gets in the Way of Good Thinking

Selective Perception: We only notice things that match our ideas and ignore the rest. 

It's like only picking red candies from a mixed bowl because you think they taste the best, but they taste the same as every other candy in the bowl. It could also be when we see all the signs that our partner is cheating on us but choose to ignore them because we are happy the way we are (or at least, we think we are).

Agreeing with Yourself: This is called “ confirmation bias ” when we only listen to ideas that match our own and seek, interpret, and remember information in a way that confirms what we already think we know or believe. 

An example is when someone wants to know if it is safe to vaccinate their children but already believes that vaccines are not safe, so they only look for information supporting the idea that vaccines are bad.

Thinking We Know It All: Similar to confirmation bias, this is called “overconfidence bias.” Sometimes we think our ideas are the best and don't listen to others. This can stop us from learning.

Have you ever met someone who you consider a “know it”? Probably, they have a lot of overconfidence bias because while they may know many things accurately, they can’t know everything. Still, if they act like they do, they show overconfidence bias.

There's a weird kind of bias similar to this called the Dunning Kruger Effect, and that is when someone is bad at what they do, but they believe and act like they are the best .

Following the Crowd: This is formally called “groupthink”. It's hard to speak up with a different idea if everyone agrees. But this can lead to mistakes.

An example of this we’ve all likely seen is the cool clique in primary school. There is usually one person that is the head of the group, the “coolest kid in school”, and everyone listens to them and does what they want, even if they don’t think it’s a good idea.

How to Overcome Biases

Here are a few ways to learn to think better, free from our biases (or at least aware of them!).

Know Your Biases: Realize that everyone has biases. If we know about them, we can think better.

Listen to Different People: Talking to different kinds of people can give us new ideas.

Ask Why: Always ask yourself why you believe something. Is it true, or is it just a bias?

Understand Others: Try to think about how others feel. It helps you see things in new ways.

Keep Learning: Always be curious and open to new information.

city in a globe connection

In today's world, everything changes fast, and there's so much information everywhere. This makes critical thinking super important. It helps us distinguish between what's real and what's made up. It also helps us make good choices. But thinking this way can be tough sometimes because of biases. These are like sneaky thoughts that can trick us. The good news is we can learn to see them and think better.

There are cool tools and ways we've talked about, like the "Socratic Questioning" method and the "Six Thinking Hats." These tools help us get better at thinking. These thinking skills can also help us in school, work, and everyday life.

We’ve also looked at specific scenarios where critical thinking would be helpful, such as deciding what diet to follow and checking facts.

Thinking isn't just a skill—it's a special talent we improve over time. Working on it lets us see things more clearly and understand the world better. So, keep practicing and asking questions! It'll make you a smarter thinker and help you see the world differently.

Critical Thinking Puzzles (Solutions)

The farmer, fox, chicken, and grain problem.

  • The farmer first takes the chicken across the river and leaves it on the other side.
  • He returns to the original side and takes the fox across the river.
  • After leaving the fox on the other side, he returns the chicken to the starting side.
  • He leaves the chicken on the starting side and takes the grain bag across the river.
  • He leaves the grain with the fox on the other side and returns to get the chicken.
  • The farmer takes the chicken across, and now all three items -- the fox, the chicken, and the grain -- are safely on the other side of the river.

The Rope, Jar, and Pebbles Problem

  • Take one rope and tie the jar of pebbles to its end.
  • Swing the rope with the jar in a pendulum motion.
  • While the rope is swinging, grab the other rope and wait.
  • As the swinging rope comes back within reach due to its pendulum motion, grab it.
  • With both ropes within reach, untie the jar and tie the rope ends together.

The Two Guards Problem

The question is, "What would the other guard say is the door to doom?" Then choose the opposite door.

The Hourglass Problem

  • Start both hourglasses. 
  • When the 4-minute hourglass runs out, turn it over.
  • When the 7-minute hourglass runs out, the 4-minute hourglass will have been running for 3 minutes. Turn the 7-minute hourglass over. 
  • When the 4-minute hourglass runs out for the second time (a total of 8 minutes have passed), the 7-minute hourglass will run for 1 minute. Turn the 7-minute hourglass again for 1 minute to empty the hourglass (a total of 9 minutes passed).

The Boat and Weights Problem

Take the cat over first and leave it on the other side. Then, return and take the fish across next. When you get there, take the cat back with you. Leave the cat on the starting side and take the cat food across. Lastly, return to get the cat and bring it to the other side.

The Lifeboat Dilemma

There isn’t one correct answer to this problem. Here are some elements to consider:

  • Moral Principles: What values guide your decision? Is it the potential greater good for humanity (the scientist)? What is the value of long-standing love and commitment (the elderly couple)? What is the future of young children who depend on their mothers? Or the selfless bravery of the teenager?
  • Future Implications: Consider the future consequences of each choice. Saving the scientist might benefit millions in the future, but what moral message does it send about the value of individual lives?
  • Emotional vs. Logical Thinking: While it's essential to engage empathy, it's also crucial not to let emotions cloud judgment entirely. For instance, while the teenager's bravery is commendable, does it make him more deserving of a spot on the boat than the others?
  • Acknowledging Uncertainty: The scientist claims to be close to a significant breakthrough, but there's no certainty. How does this uncertainty factor into your decision?
  • Personal Bias: Recognize and challenge any personal biases, such as biases towards age, profession, or familial status.

The Tech Dilemma

Again, there isn’t one correct answer to this problem. Here are some elements to consider:

  • Evaluate the Risk: How severe is the potential vulnerability? Can it be easily exploited, or would it require significant expertise? Even if the circumstances are rare, what would be the consequences if the vulnerability were exploited?
  • Stakeholder Considerations: Different stakeholders will have different priorities. Upper management might prioritize financial projections, the marketing team might be concerned about the product's reputation, and customers might prioritize the security of their data. How do you balance these competing interests?
  • Short-Term vs. Long-Term Implications: While launching on time could meet immediate financial goals, consider the potential long-term damage to the company's reputation if the vulnerability is exploited. Would the short-term gains be worth the potential long-term costs?
  • Ethical Implications : Beyond the financial and reputational aspects, there's an ethical dimension to consider. Is it right to release a product with a known vulnerability, even if the chances of it being exploited are low?
  • Seek External Input: Consulting with cybersecurity experts outside your company might be beneficial. They could provide a more objective risk assessment and potential mitigation strategies.
  • Communication: How will you communicate the decision, whatever it may be, both internally to your team and upper management and externally to your customers and potential users?

The History Mystery

Dr. Amelia should take the following steps:

  • Verify the Letters: Before making any claims, she should check if the letters are actual and not fake. She can do this by seeing when and where they were written and if they match with other things from that time.
  • Get a Second Opinion: It's always good to have someone else look at what you've found. Dr. Amelia could show the letters to other history experts and see their thoughts.
  • Research More: Maybe there are more documents or letters out there that support this new story. Dr. Amelia should keep looking to see if she can find more evidence.
  • Share the Findings: If Dr. Amelia believes the letters are true after all her checks, she should tell others. This can be through books, talks, or articles.
  • Stay Open to Feedback: Some people might agree with Dr. Amelia, and others might not. She should listen to everyone and be ready to learn more or change her mind if new information arises.

Ultimately, Dr. Amelia's job is to find out the truth about history and share it. It's okay if this new truth differs from what people used to believe. History is about learning from the past, no matter the story.

Related posts:

  • Experimenter Bias (Definition + Examples)
  • Hasty Generalization Fallacy (31 Examples + Similar Names)
  • Ad Hoc Fallacy (29 Examples + Other Names)
  • Confirmation Bias (Examples + Definition)
  • Equivocation Fallacy (26 Examples + Description)

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Effective Critical-Thinking Questions to Use in Class

Jessica shaffer.

  • May 17, 2021

Teacher calling on students with their hands up in a classroom.

What is Critical Thinking?

Critical thinking does not have just one definition, but one way to explain it is that it is “thinking about one’s thinking.” A critical thinker does not always take things at face value and will question ideas to further understand them. Critical thinkers also have the ability to see past the surface of something, and they possess important skills such as the ability to analyze, interpret, make inferences, and problem-solve. Critical thinkers also tend to be inquisitive about many issues, have a concern to remain well-informed, and embrace and even seek out critical thinking opportunities. Simply stated, critical thinkers think deep thoughts.

What is the Importance of Critical Thinking for Students?

Back in the day, school was different! Honestly, even a year ago, school was far different than it is now, but there is currently so much more emphasis on the “why” and the “how” than just knowing what the answer is. Critical thinking skills are important for students because of the curricula they are exposed to. “Right there” questions are few and far between and students have to rely on their own ability to dig deeper and read between the lines. There is a lot of emphasis placed on college and career readiness, and part of that is to prepare students to problem solve when there is no apparent answer.

Critical thinking provides students opportunities to acquire the higher-level thinking skills that will be needed for career and beyond. It is important to teach students at a young age that you cannot find the answer to everything in a book or through Google. You have to look within yourself to find many answers and, most importantly, justify why that is your answer. There are many ways teachers can incorporate these types of questions throughout the day, you just have to change your mindset a bit!

Critical Thinking Questions to Use in Class

A teacher will ask questions that usually contain one of the following components: who, what, where, when, how, or why. Using good questioning techniques is important and not always as difficult as it seems. Just changing the way that you start a question can change the way students think about an answer or solution. For example, instead of asking students “Who stole the pizza?”, ask students, “Why would that character want to steal the pizza?”

A critical thinking question should aim to make you think. It should lead students to ponder the answer and discuss possible solutions. Critical thinking questions can even lead to disagreements and arguments that can turn into an impressive teachable moment.

One way to incorporate a solid critical thinking question into a math lesson is to have the students solve a problem, and then ask students how they solved the problem. You can have the students talk it out or have each student write down a written explanation and then share it out. Either of these techniques gives various perspectives on how to solve the same problems and can help students to develop math sense.

Another way to incorporate critical thinking questions into math is to present a problem that is solved incorrectly and have students analyze the mistake. Students will have to solve for the correct answer and determine where the mistake occurred. To make this even more challenging, present a word problem or a multi-step story problem to further present critical thinking challenges.

Making inferences is generally one of the most difficult skills for students to learn. This is where students must use their critical thinking skills to understand what is not written or observed. Students must use evidence and couple it with reasoning skills to form a conclusion. A basic example would be looking at a photograph of a dog holding a leash in its mouth and coming to the conclusion that the dog would like to go for a walk.

Morning journals for students can present the perfect opportunity to enhance critical thinking skills. Instead of asking basic questions with basic answers, create questions that force students to think outside the box. For example, ask the question, “Is creativity something that can be measured? Should it be?” Instead of asking what creativity is and giving an example, this question makes a student pause and think about the answer before beginning to respond. These are the types of questions that can frustrate students “in a good way.”

A great way to encourage critical thinking in ELA is to ask students to write an alternate ending to a story. This promotes creativity and deep thinking. Then, students can explain how changing the ending of the story could have an impact on not just the novel, but the world. Encouraging students to think on a more global level also encourages a higher-level of thinking as well as a better understanding of the culture of the world, not just the small bubble they reside in.

Science is a subject perfect for inquiry! Having students think as an engineer would is a critical thinking skill at it’s finest. Students have to design a solution, test it, and then design an even better solution in order to combat weaknesses in the original design. This can be applied at any grade level.

A terrific way to incorporate critical thinking in Social Studies is similar to ELA by changing the outcome of important events in history. For example, have students discuss how our lives would be different if the Civil War had been won by the South. How would it have changed subsequent events in our history and what would life be like today? The opportunities are endless.

Ending Thoughts

All in all, teachers can create many opportunities each and every day for students to use critical thinking skills. It is as simple as starting the day off with a critical thinking question and changing certain techniques. Even if you ask the students a basic question, follow it up with something that requires more depth of thought. As the great Albert Einstein once said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” Force students to think about their thinking, and get them ready for the real world!

  • #CriticalThinking , #TeachingStrategies

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Examples of Critical Thinking Questions for Students

By Med Kharbach, PhD | Last Update: November 10, 2023

Critical thinking is an essential cognitive skill that entails the ability to reason, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. It goes beyond mere acquisition of knowledge. Instead, it involves deep, reflective thought, demanding us to question our assumptions, weigh evidence, and consider consequences. It’s about making clear, reasoned judgments. In essence, critical thinking is thinking about thinking, in a manner that allows us to improve the quality of our thinking.

examples of critical thinking questions for students

In our daily lives, critical thinking helps us better understand ourselves, other people, and the world around us. It aids in problem solving, aids in the formation of beliefs and opinions, and encourages curiosity and creativity.

For example, when you’re faced with a major decision like purchasing a house, critical thinking enables you to weigh the pros and cons, assess the credibility of your sources of information, consider alternative options, and make a well-informed decision.

In professional situations, critical thinking is equally important. It helps us navigate complex work situations, make informed decisions, solve problems efficiently, and think creatively. For instance, if a company faces a decline in sales, critical thinking would help diagnose the root cause of the issue, evaluate different strategies to address the problem, and make effective decisions to rectify the situation.

The importance of critical thinking is particularly crucial for students. It provides them with the necessary skills to understand complex concepts, evaluate the credibility of sources, engage in thoughtful discussions, and develop reasoned arguments. It lays the foundation for lifelong learning and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing world.

This brings us to the concept of critical thinking questions . These are questions that are specifically designed to promote critical thinking. They go beyond factual inquiries, prompting individuals to analyze, synthesize, apply, and evaluate information. Critical thinking questions challenge the conventional wisdom and encourage individuals to think deeper, questioning the why’s and how’s.

They serve as a tool to spark intellectual engagement and stimulate thoughtful and reflective responses. As we delve further into this blog post, we will explore different types of critical thinking questions and how they can be applied in various contexts.

Related: Best TED Ed Lessons on Critical Thinking

Tips on Formulating Critical Thinking Questions

Creating good critical thinking questions involves understanding the basics of inquiry and knowing how to stimulate higher order thinking. Here are some tips and steps on formulating effective critical thinking questions:

Characteristics of Good Critical Thinking Questions:

  • Open-Ended: Good critical thinking questions are typically open-ended, meaning they don’t have a single, simple answer. They invite students to think deeply and come up with their unique insights.
  • Thought-Provoking: Effective questions challenge assumptions and encourage students to think creatively and critically. They provoke curiosity and exploration.
  • Promote Discussion: The questions should stimulate meaningful discussions. The responses to these questions should not end the conversation, but rather, foster a deeper exploration of the topic.
  • Clear and Understandable: The question should be framed in such a way that it is clear and easy to understand. Confusing questions can deter students from critical thinking.

Steps to Create Effective Critical Thinking Questions:

  • Identify Your Learning Goals: Start by figuring out what you want your students to learn or achieve. Your question should align with these learning goals.
  • Consider the Cognitive Level: Depending on the depth of thinking you want to stimulate, frame your questions accordingly. For instance, for higher order thinking, you might want to ask analysis, evaluation, or creation questions.
  • Draft Your Question: Begin drafting your question. Remember, the best questions are open-ended and require more than a yes or no answer.
  • Refine Your Question: Review your question. Is it clear? Does it promote discussion? Does it align with your learning goals? Refine as necessary.
  • Test Your Question: Try out your question with a few students or colleagues to see if it stimulates the kind of discussion you’re hoping for. Be open to further refining your question based on the results.

Keep in mind that the goal of asking questions is not to ‘stump’ the students, but to promote intellectual engagement and thought. The best questions often lead to more questions, igniting a passion for learning and exploration.

Types of critical thinking questions

Critical thinking questions can be divided into the following categories:

1. Analysis Questions

Analysis questions ask the respondent to break a concept or idea into its component parts for examination. These questions can help uncover underlying structures, patterns, or meanings. They often involve words like “compare”, “contrast”, “classify”, “divide”, etc.

Example: “Compare the political ideologies of democratic socialism and laissez-faire capitalism. What are the similarities and differences between them?”

2. Evaluation Questions

Evaluation questions call for the respondent to make a judgment about the value of something, based on defined criteria. They often use terms like “critique”, “justify”, “validate”, “defend”, etc.

Example: “Evaluate the effectiveness of the government’s pandemic response measures. What were the successes and shortcomings?”

3. Inference Questions

Inference questions require the respondent to go beyond what is explicitly stated and make logical conclusions or predictions based on the information provided. Key words often include “infer”, “deduce”, “predict”, “conclude”, etc.

Example: “Given the recent surge in online shopping trends, what can you infer about the future of brick-and-mortar retail stores?”

4. Application Questions

Application questions involve applying knowledge or concepts to new situations or contexts. These questions often involve “applying”, “utilizing”, “implementing”, or “executing” learned knowledge.

Example: “How would you apply the principles of conflict resolution that we studied to resolve a disagreement in your workplace?”

5. Synthesis Questions

Synthesis questions invite the respondent to combine different pieces of information, ideas, or concepts to form a new whole or propose a solution. Words often associated with these questions are “design”, “formulate”, “propose”, “create”, etc.

Example: “Based on your understanding of climate change and renewable technologies, propose a comprehensive strategy for a city to reduce its carbon footprint.”

These types of questions, when used in the appropriate contexts, can help foster a deep level of understanding and stimulate higher-level thinking.

Examples of Critical thinking Questions

Here are some examples of critical questions that you can use to stimulate students’ critical thinking skills, encouraging them to analyze, evaluate, and create new ideas based on what they’ve learned.

  • What do you think would happen if…?
  • Can you explain why…?
  • How would you solve this problem using different strategies?
  • Can you compare and contrast these two concepts?
  • How can you demonstrate your understanding of this concept in a different way?
  • How would you categorize these items, and why did you choose to do it that way?
  • What patterns or connections do you see in the information provided?
  • How might you interpret these findings from another perspective?
  • Can you design a…to…?
  • How would you prove or disprove this statement?
  • How can we improve…?
  • What would be the consequences if…?
  • Can you predict the outcome if…?
  • What is the relationship between…?
  • How can this be applied to other situations?
  • What are the possible solutions for…?
  • Why do you think that… happened?
  • How can we test the validity of…?
  • What alternative would you suggest for…?
  • How can you illustrate this concept in a diagram?
  • What would you recommend, and why?
  • How is this similar to…?
  • Can you make a general rule about…?
  • How would you evaluate…?
  • What evidence do you have for your claim?
  • What are the implications of…?
  • How does this contradict or confirm your understanding of…?
  • Can you think of an example where…?
  • How would you justify…?
  • What do you think is the significance of…?

In conclusion, critical thinking questions are an indispensable tool for stimulating and nurturing the intellectual capabilities of students. They’re not just questions, but sparks that ignite the curiosity, analytical ability, and problem-solving skills in a learner. They invite students to dig deeper, challenge their preconceptions, and engage with material on a more profound level.

These questions play a pivotal role in taking learning beyond the simple absorption of facts into the realm of true understanding and application. They prepare students for the complexities of the real world, honing their ability to analyze situations, make decisions, and innovate solutions.

As educators and teachers, fostering this skill in students through the strategic use of critical thinking questions should be a top priority. So, let’s continue to question, to probe, and to encourage our students to do the same, for it’s in the exploration of these questions that true learning lies.

examples of critical thinking questions for students

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examples of critical thinking questions for students

Meet Med Kharbach, PhD

Dr. Med Kharbach is an influential voice in the global educational technology landscape, with an extensive background in educational studies and a decade-long experience as a K-12 teacher. Holding a Ph.D. from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Canada, he brings a unique perspective to the educational world by integrating his profound academic knowledge with his hands-on teaching experience. Dr. Kharbach's academic pursuits encompass curriculum studies, discourse analysis, language learning/teaching, language and identity, emerging literacies, educational technology, and research methodologies. His work has been presented at numerous national and international conferences and published in various esteemed academic journals.

examples of critical thinking questions for students

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Helping Students Hone Their Critical Thinking Skills

Used consistently, these strategies can help middle and high school teachers guide students to improve much-needed skills.

Middle school students involved in a classroom discussion

Critical thinking skills are important in every discipline, at and beyond school. From managing money to choosing which candidates to vote for in elections to making difficult career choices, students need to be prepared to take in, synthesize, and act on new information in a world that is constantly changing.

While critical thinking might seem like an abstract idea that is tough to directly instruct, there are many engaging ways to help students strengthen these skills through active learning.

Make Time for Metacognitive Reflection

Create space for students to both reflect on their ideas and discuss the power of doing so. Show students how they can push back on their own thinking to analyze and question their assumptions. Students might ask themselves, “Why is this the best answer? What information supports my answer? What might someone with a counterargument say?”

Through this reflection, students and teachers (who can model reflecting on their own thinking) gain deeper understandings of their ideas and do a better job articulating their beliefs. In a world that is go-go-go, it is important to help students understand that it is OK to take a breath and think about their ideas before putting them out into the world. And taking time for reflection helps us more thoughtfully consider others’ ideas, too.

Teach Reasoning Skills 

Reasoning skills are another key component of critical thinking, involving the abilities to think logically, evaluate evidence, identify assumptions, and analyze arguments. Students who learn how to use reasoning skills will be better equipped to make informed decisions, form and defend opinions, and solve problems. 

One way to teach reasoning is to use problem-solving activities that require students to apply their skills to practical contexts. For example, give students a real problem to solve, and ask them to use reasoning skills to develop a solution. They can then present their solution and defend their reasoning to the class and engage in discussion about whether and how their thinking changed when listening to peers’ perspectives. 

A great example I have seen involved students identifying an underutilized part of their school and creating a presentation about one way to redesign it. This project allowed students to feel a sense of connection to the problem and come up with creative solutions that could help others at school. For more examples, you might visit PBS’s Design Squad , a resource that brings to life real-world problem-solving.

Ask Open-Ended Questions 

Moving beyond the repetition of facts, critical thinking requires students to take positions and explain their beliefs through research, evidence, and explanations of credibility. 

When we pose open-ended questions, we create space for classroom discourse inclusive of diverse, perhaps opposing, ideas—grounds for rich exchanges that support deep thinking and analysis. 

For example, “How would you approach the problem?” and “Where might you look to find resources to address this issue?” are two open-ended questions that position students to think less about the “right” answer and more about the variety of solutions that might already exist. 

Journaling, whether digitally or physically in a notebook, is another great way to have students answer these open-ended prompts—giving them time to think and organize their thoughts before contributing to a conversation, which can ensure that more voices are heard. 

Once students process in their journal, small group or whole class conversations help bring their ideas to life. Discovering similarities between answers helps reveal to students that they are not alone, which can encourage future participation in constructive civil discourse.

Teach Information Literacy 

Education has moved far past the idea of “Be careful of what is on Wikipedia, because it might not be true.” With AI innovations making their way into classrooms, teachers know that informed readers must question everything. 

Understanding what is and is not a reliable source and knowing how to vet information are important skills for students to build and utilize when making informed decisions. You might start by introducing the idea of bias: Articles, ads, memes, videos, and every other form of media can push an agenda that students may not see on the surface. Discuss credibility, subjectivity, and objectivity, and look at examples and nonexamples of trusted information to prepare students to be well-informed members of a democracy.

One of my favorite lessons is about the Pacific Northwest tree octopus . This project asks students to explore what appears to be a very real website that provides information on this supposedly endangered animal. It is a wonderful, albeit over-the-top, example of how something might look official even when untrue, revealing that we need critical thinking to break down “facts” and determine the validity of the information we consume. 

A fun extension is to have students come up with their own website or newsletter about something going on in school that is untrue. Perhaps a change in dress code that requires everyone to wear their clothes inside out or a change to the lunch menu that will require students to eat brussels sprouts every day. 

Giving students the ability to create their own falsified information can help them better identify it in other contexts. Understanding that information can be “too good to be true” can help them identify future falsehoods. 

Provide Diverse Perspectives 

Consider how to keep the classroom from becoming an echo chamber. If students come from the same community, they may have similar perspectives. And those who have differing perspectives may not feel comfortable sharing them in the face of an opposing majority. 

To support varying viewpoints, bring diverse voices into the classroom as much as possible, especially when discussing current events. Use primary sources: videos from YouTube, essays and articles written by people who experienced current events firsthand, documentaries that dive deeply into topics that require some nuance, and any other resources that provide a varied look at topics. 

I like to use the Smithsonian “OurStory” page , which shares a wide variety of stories from people in the United States. The page on Japanese American internment camps is very powerful because of its first-person perspectives. 

Practice Makes Perfect 

To make the above strategies and thinking routines a consistent part of your classroom, spread them out—and build upon them—over the course of the school year. You might challenge students with information and/or examples that require them to use their critical thinking skills; work these skills explicitly into lessons, projects, rubrics, and self-assessments; or have students practice identifying misinformation or unsupported arguments.

Critical thinking is not learned in isolation. It needs to be explored in English language arts, social studies, science, physical education, math. Every discipline requires students to take a careful look at something and find the best solution. Often, these skills are taken for granted, viewed as a by-product of a good education, but true critical thinking doesn’t just happen. It requires consistency and commitment.

In a moment when information and misinformation abound, and students must parse reams of information, it is imperative that we support and model critical thinking in the classroom to support the development of well-informed citizens.

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85 Critical Thinking Questions to Carefully Examine Any Information

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The ability to think critically will often determine your success in life.

Let’s face it. Every day, we are bombarded by news, social media updates, and an avalanche of information. If you take all of this at face value, it’s easy to be deceived, misled or ripped off.

That’s why it’s important to  develop a mindset that focuses on critical thinking . This is a skill that needs to be developed in the classroom. But it’s also a valuable life skill.

With that in mind, the following post will share 85 critical thinking questions you can use to increase your awareness about different problems by carefully examining available information. 

Let’s get started…

Table of Contents

What Are Critical Thinking Questions?

Critical thinking questions are inquiries that help you think rationally and clearly by understanding the link between different facts or ideas. These questions create a seemingly endless learning process that lets you critique, evaluate, and develop a depth of knowledge about a given subject. Moreover, you get to reinforce your viewpoints or see things in a new way.

We make decisions every day, whether at work or home. Adopting logical, rational, and practical approaches in addressing various issues requiring critical thinking is essential in decision-making. Therefore, before arriving at a decision, always ask yourself relevant questions and carefully analyze the matter’s pros and cons.

Critical Thinking Questions When in an Argument

When you make an argument using a critical thinking approach, you focus on justified claims that are valid and based on evidence. It helps one establish a strong argument.

  • Do I disagree with the other person? Might the person I'm arguing with be misinformed on what they are saying?
  • Would I be comfortable saying what I am telling him/her if I was in front of a group of people? 
  • What would happen if I lose this argument? Is engaging in this argument worth my time and energy? How will I feel if I lose?
  • Is there room for ambiguity or misinterpretation? Are we arguing because I didn't make my point explicit? Should I take my time to understand his school of thought?
  • Do I need some rest before saying something? Am I arguing because of other reasons other than the issues at hand? Do I need to take some time and cool down?

critical thinking questions | critical thinking questions examples with answers | fun critical thinking questions with answers

  • Is it more important that I’m right? Am I trying to ask to prove an unnecessary point?
  • Is this argument inductive, deductive, or abductive? Is it a weak or strong argument that I need to engage in? Is it compelling or sound? 
  • Is my opponent sincere? Given that they are wrong, are they willing to admit that they are wrong? Can they depend on available evidence, wherever it leads?
  • Are my opponents only trying to shift their burden to me? What is the best way to prove them wrong without making them feel bad?
  • Are the people I'm arguing with only interested in winning, or are they trying to pass some information across and help me discover the truth?

Critical Thinking Questions When Reading a Book 

When you read a book, you probably ask yourself many “why” questions. Why is this a problem? Why did the character say that? Why is this important? The most challenging part of reading a book is assessing the information you are reading. These questions can help.

  • If I learn only two things from this book, what will they be? How will they help me? How will I apply them in my daily life?
  • What message are the authors trying to pass across? Are they making suggestions or providing evidence for their arguments?
  • Given that almost every book is about solving problems, what is the most prevalent issue that the author is trying to solve?
  • What is the author’s writing style? What strategy or master plan does the author employ to convey his/her main ideas throughout the book?
  • Do I have background information about the book’s topic? If so, how is what the author is saying different from what I already know?
  • What didn’t I understand from the book? Should I re-read the book to understand everything the writer is trying to convey?
  • Which sections of the book do I love the most, and why? Generally, do I like this book? Should I look for more books that are written by the same author?
  • If I had a chance to meet this book’s author, what questions would I ask him/her? What would I tell the writer about the book? Is it a great book worth recommending to your friends and family members?
  • Who are the main characters of the book? If there is only one main character, what overarching goal does the character accomplish?
  • In what ways did the protagonist change from the start of the book to the end? What caused the changes? Was the protagonist reckless in some ways? Which ways?

Critical Thinking Questions to Spot a Scam

Asking questions when you feel that a fraud or a scam is being presented to you is a good way to stretch your critical thinking muscles. Are you being emailed or messaged by a stranger? Or maybe there are other red flags you are unsure about. If so, ask these questions.

  • Does it seem to be too good to be true? Is this stranger pushy or trying to lure me into making a poor decision?
  • When trying out online dating: Is my new “friend” professing strong feelings towards me although we’ve only interacted for a few hours?
  • Why is a stranger calling me to ask about my Social Security Number (SSN), personal contact information, or bank details while claiming they are from the bank or a phone company? 
  • When buying products online, why does the seller ask me to pay for goods using an insecure payment option like Bitcoin or money order?
  • Does the email I have received have any spelling or grammatical errors? Is the language used overly formal or informal?
  • If I do a quick search about the exact words of the email I received, does Google indicate it's a fraud or scam?
  • Why should a stranger manipulate me using obvious questions like “Would you want to be rich or poor?” While they already know the answer?
  • Is the email asking me to download an attachment? Or click a link to some insecure website? 
  • Is the person trying to make me feel selfish or guilty for not sending them money, whether for a donation or buying a product? 
  • Is the stranger portraying a sense of urgency and using pressure tactics? Are they telling me that their family member needs urgent medical attention?

Critical Thinking Questions About Your Life

It can also help to ask yourself a few critical thinking questions about your life. This way, you can gather basic information and uncover solutions to problems you might not have otherwise thought of.

  • Where do I wish to be in a few years, probably two, three, or five years? What short-term and long-term goals should I set?
  • What have I achieved so far from the time I set my previous goals? What should I be grateful for?
  • Do I have any values that guide me in life? If so, what are these values? Am I always true to these values?
  • Am I always worried about what people around me think? Can I act independently without the need to meet social expectations?
  • What should people say about me at my funeral? Would they talk about how good I made them feel or how rich and flashy I was?
  • If I wasn't afraid of anyone or anything, what would I have done? What if I didn't have any fear in me?
  • If today was my last day, what extraordinary thing would I do? Can I do it right now?
  • What should I do with the things that matter the most to me? 
  • What things will make the greatest difference in my future life if I take action now?
  • How should I react when I feel unwanted by the people I love the most? Should I tell them?

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Critical Thinking Questions for a Debate or Discussion

When you are in the middle of a debate or discussion, you need to know that what you are saying is fact, have evidence to support your claim, and position yourself as an expert in what you are saying. Here are some critical thinking questions to ask when you are in a debate or discussion.

  • Is there fairness in this discussion? Is the moderator supporting one side? Do they want to make one side look stupid or wrong? 
  • What is the aim of this discussion? Is there a major problem that needs to be solved? If so, how can I help solve it?
  • Who are the people affected by this discussion? If they were here, what would they say?
  • Do my views on this discussion matter? If I raise my point, will I be redundant?
  • What am I supposed to learn from this debate, and how can I use what I have learned in my daily life?
  • Does the audience seem to be biased towards one side? Are they booing one side? What can I do even if it's our opponents being booed?
  • Who are the discussion panel members? What views have they held about this kind of discussion or any other related discussions in the past?
  • How can I make my point without being ambiguous? Before I speak, should I take down some notes to avoid any confusion during my speech?
  • Am I ready to apologize if I make a mistake during the discussion? If so, what are the limits?
  • What information does my team, or I need before this discussion? 

Critical Thinking Questions About Lying

Admitting when you are wrong, choosing not to cheat, and sharing constructive feedback are all ways to show your honesty. Here are some critical thinking skills to ask regarding lying.

  • Will the lie hurt those I am telling, or will it help them? What if being honest might cause my friend unnecessary pain?
  • Should I be the one telling this person a lie, or I let someone else do it? 
  • Will I be the one hurt if I tell this lie? Will my friend feel I am a betrayer? Will it affect our friendship?
  • Do they answer my questions in detail, or are they always trying to ignore and dodge the main problem?
  • What if I ask these people the same question using different terms and wording? Will they give me the same response?
  • Did the tone of my friend suddenly change after I asked him/her this question? Do they sound louder, faster, or slower compared to how they usually speak?
  • Does this person have something to gain by lying to me? What is their motive?
  • Does this person take a sudden pause or hesitate more than usual when responding to my question?
  • When I look at these people's faces, do their facial expressions match what they say?
  • Should I believe this person or not? What are my intuitions? Does it look like they are telling the truth?
  • Do they blink like other days when I ask them questions? Are they always trying to avoid direct eye contact?
  • Why do they seem uncomfortable when it’s just a normal conversation?  

Critical Thinking Questions When Presented With a Claim

Critical thinking is much more than just evaluating whether a claim is true or not. It also means a critical thinker reflects on what follows from true claims.

  • What does this claim mean, and what are its implications? What if it's a false claim?
  • Which of my morals, values, or beliefs do I have to give up to accept this claim?
  • Do professionals in this field agree or disagree with the claim that has been made?
  • Do they have evidence to back their claim? Which is the most robust evidence to support the claim?
  • What argument can I come up with to refute this claim? Or what is the best view that can support this claim?
  • Who is the primary source of the claim being made? Is the basis of the claim reliable?
  • Is it a claim, or it's just an opinion?
  • Is the claim likely to be 100% false, true, or partially true?
  • Am I allowed to refute the claim and table my evidence, or is it one-sided?

Critical Thinking Interview Questions

Critical thinking skills are valuable in any industry or field and for almost all roles. During a job interview, you will be asked questions so the potential employer can assess your skills and see how you use logic. Your critical thinking ability is just one vital part that can play into your professional development.

  • Is there a time you had to convince someone to use an alternate approach to solve a problem?
  • Have you ever had to make a difficult decision quickly?
  • How would you handle a situation where your supervisor handled something wrong or made a mistake?
  • What is one of the most difficult decisions you have ever had to make at work?
  • How would you solve a disagreement between coworkers when approaching a project?
  • Can you describe a time when you anticipated a problem ahead of time and took the appropriate steps to stop the problem from becoming an issue?
  • If you discover a cheaper way to do something or a better solution to a problem and try to explain it to your supervisor, but they don’t understand, what do you do?

Critical Thinking Questions for Kids

We can’t leave the kids out either. Critical thinking questions for kids get them thinking and talking. It also allows a parent to get to know their child better.

  • How many grains of sand do you think are on the beach?
  • What would happen if it stopped raining?
  • Do you think there is life on other planets?
  • Should children be able to set their own bedtimes?
  • How would you describe what a tree looks like without saying green or leaves?
  • Can you name five different emotions?
  • Can you talk for five minutes without uttering “um?”

What Are the Basic Principles of Critical Thinking?

Your critical thinking skills involve gathering complete information, understanding and defining terms, questioning the methods by which we get facts, questioning the conclusions, and looking for hidden assumptions and biases.

Additionally, we can’t expect to find all of the answers, and we need to take the time to examine the big picture of it all.

Here are the basic principles:

  • Disposition: Someone with critical thinking skills is often skeptical, open-minded, and practices fair-mindedness. They can look at different viewpoints and change positions if the evidence and reason lead them to do so.
  • Criteria: In order to think critically, one must also apply criteria. Certain conditions must be met before someone believes in something. The information needs to be from credible sources.
  • Argument: An argument is simply a statement or proposition that is shown with supporting evidence. When you use your critical thinking skills, you identify, evaluate, and construct your argument.
  • Reasoning: With critical thinking comes reasoning. You must examine logical relationships among the statements being made.
  • Point of View: Critical thinkers can see things from different perspectives and different points of view.

What Are Good Analysis Questions?

Analysis is a part of critical thinking that allows you to examine something carefully. Someone with analytical skills can examine the information presented, understand what that information means, and then properly explain that information to others. Analysis in critical thinking provides more clarity on the information you process.

When analyzing, you may ask yourself, “how do I know this,” how would I solve this problem,” and “why does it matter?”

Why Is Critical Thinking an Important Skill?

Critical thinking skills allow you to express thoughts, ideas, and beliefs in a better way. It also leads to improved communication while allowing others to understand you better. Critical thinking fosters creativity and encourages out-of-the-box thinking. This is a skill that can be applied to many different areas of your life.

For example, knowing the answers to critical thinking questions for a job interview will better prepare you for the interview. Many employers, during questioning, are likely to ask you critical thinking questions to assess if you have the ability to evaluate information effectively so you can make more informed decisions.

Final Thoughts on Critical Thinking Questions

Although it's common to get torn between making two or more choices, nobody wants to make the wrong decision. The only thing you can do to avoid this is use critical thinking questions to examine your situation. The answers to these questions will help you make informed decisions and help you comprehend crucial matters in your life. 

Want to learn more about critical thinking and decision-making using a real-life example? Here is  how Jeff Bezos uses critical thinking  to make some of the most challenging life decisions.

Finally, if you want to ask better questions, then watch this short, 20-minute course to learn how to have a great conversation with virtually anyone .

sample critical thinking questions | psychology critical thinking questions | critical thinking questions definition

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examples of critical thinking questions for students


Critical thinking is an essential skill for students to develop, as it enables them to analyze information, evaluate arguments, and make informed decisions. To enhance critical thinking abilities, students can engage with thought-provoking questions that challenge assumptions and encourage deeper reflection. In this article, we present sixteen critical thinking questions that will stimulate their cognitive abilities and foster intellectual growth.

1. What evidence supports this argument?

Assessing the evidence behind an argument encourages students to analyze whether it is sufficient, credible, and logically sound. This question teaches them to question the basis of statements and seek supporting evidence.

2. How can you apply this concept in real-life situations?

Connecting abstract concepts to practical scenarios helps students understand the relevance and applicability of what they learn. This question encourages them to think beyond classroom discussions and consider real-world implications.

3. What are the underlying assumptions in this statement?

Identifying assumptions allows students to recognize hidden biases or prejudices in arguments. By questioning underlying assumptions, they can develop a more nuanced understanding of complex issues.

4. Can you think of alternative explanations?

Encouraging students to consider alternative explanations fosters their ability to think critically and challenge initial conclusions. This question helps them explore different perspectives and understand that there can be multiple plausible interpretations.

5. How might different cultural perspectives influence this situation?

Recognizing the impact of cultural perspectives on opinions and decisions develops students’ cultural sensitivity and empathy. By considering diverse viewpoints, they broaden their understanding of complex issues.

6. What are the ethical implications of this decision?

Evaluating ethical consequences encourages students to consider the wider implications of their choices. This question enables them to develop ethical reasoning and become responsible decision-makers.

7. Can you identify any logical fallacies in this argument?

Recognizing logical fallacies helps students evaluate the validity of arguments and avoid common errors in their own reasoning. This question hones their critical thinking skills by identifying flaws in reasoning.

8. How might this situation change if key variables were altered?

By altering key variables, students can explore the potential impact of different factors on a given situation. This question enhances their ability to anticipate and evaluate different scenarios.

9. What are the potential biases in this research study?

Assessing biases in research studies equips students with the skills to critically evaluate scientific literature. This question prompts them to consider possible biases and influences on research outcomes.

10. What are the counterarguments to this position?

Encouraging students to examine counterarguments encourages them to think beyond their initial beliefs and consider opposing viewpoints. This question develops their ability to engage in respectful and constructive debates.

11. How does this information relate to your prior knowledge on the subject?

Connecting new information to existing knowledge aids student comprehension and reinforces critical thinking. This question prompts them to reflect on the relevance of new knowledge in relation to what they already know.

12. What are the short-term and long-term consequences of this decision?

Considering the short-term and long-term consequences helps students make more informed decisions. This question encourages them to think beyond immediate outcomes and consider broader impacts.

13. What are the potential biases in this news article?

Examining biases in news articles helps students distinguish between objective and subjective information. This question fosters media literacy skills and enables them to critically analyze news sources.

14. Can you identify any logical inconsistencies in this theory?

Identifying logical inconsistencies enables students to evaluate the coherence and validity of theories. This question promotes critical thinking by challenging the logical structure of theories.

15. How does this information challenge or confirm your existing beliefs?

Engaging with information that challenges personal beliefs helps students develop intellectual flexibility and open-mindedness. This question encourages them to critically evaluate their own perspectives.

16. What are the implications of this historical event in today’s society?

Connecting historical events to contemporary issues fosters students’ ability to recognize patterns and understand the relevance of the past. This question prompts critical analysis of history’s impact on the present.


Engaging with these sixteen critical thinking questions will empower students to become active learners, capable of analyzing, evaluating, and synthesizing information effectively. By consistently challenging their assumptions, seeking evidence, and considering diverse perspectives, students will develop robust critical thinking skills that will benefit them throughout their academic and professional journeys.

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25 Critical Thinking Examples

critical thinking examples and definition, explained below

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze information and make reasoned decisions. It involves suspended judgment, open-mindedness, and clarity of thought.

It involves considering different viewpoints and weighing evidence carefully. It is essential for solving complex problems and making good decisions.

People who think critically are able to see the world in a more nuanced way and understand the interconnectedness of things. They are also better able to adapt to change and handle uncertainty.

In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to think critically is more important than ever and necessary for students and employees alike.

Critical Thinking Examples

1. identifying strengths and weaknesses.

Critical thinkers don’t just take things at face value. They stand back and contemplate the potential strengths and weaknesses of something and then make a decision after contemplation.

This helps you to avoid excessive bias and identify possible problems ahead of time.

For example, a boxer about to get in the ring will likely need to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of his opponent. He might learn that his opponent’s left hook is very strong, but his opponent also gets tired after the third round. With this knowledge, he can go into the bout with strong defenses in the first three rounds before going on the offense.

Here, the boxer’s critical thinking skills will help him win his match.

2. Creating a Hypothesis based on Limited Data

When scientists set out to test a new theory, they first need to develop a hypothesis. This is an educated guess about how things work, based on what is already known.

Once a hypothesis has been developed, experiments can be designed to test it.

However, sometimes scientists may find themselves working with limited data. In such cases, they may need to make some assumptions in order to form a hypothesis.

For example, if they are studying a phenomenon that occurs infrequently, they may need to extrapolate from the data they do have in order to form a hypothesis.

Here, the scientist is engaged in critical thinking: they use the limited data to come up with a tentative judgment.

3. Moderating a Debate

A debate moderator needs to have strong critical thinking skills. They need to use objective evaluations, analysis, and critique to keep the discussion on track and ensure that all sides are heard fairly.

This means being able to identify when a point has been made sufficiently, or when someone is beginning to veer off topic and being able to direct the conversation accordingly.

Similarly, they need to be able to assess each argument objectively and consider its merits, rather than getting caught up in the emotion of the debate. If someone is using an unfair point or one that is not factual, the moderator needs to be switched on and identify this.

By remaining calm and impartial, the moderator can help to ensure that a debate is productive and respectful.

4. Judging and Adjudicating

A judge or adjudicator needs to weigh the evidence and make a determination based on the facts.

This requires the adjudicator to be able to try to see both sides of an argument. They need the ability to see past personal biases and to critically evaluate the credibility of all sides.

In addition, judges and adjudicators must be able to think quickly and make sound decisions in the face of complex issues.

For example, if you were to be adjudicating the above debate, you need to hear both sides of the argument and then decide who won. It’s your job to evaluate, see strengths and weaknesses in arguments, and come to a conclusion.

5. Grading an Essay

Teachers need critical thinking skills when grading essays so that they can effectively assess the quality of the writing. By critically analyzing the essay, teachers can identify any errors or weaknesses in the argument.

Furthermore, they can also determine whether the essay meets the required standards for the assignment. Even a very well-written essay may deserve a lower grade if the essay doesn’t directly answer the essay question.

A teacher needs to be able to read an essay and understand not only what the student is trying to say, but also how well they are making their argument. Are they using evidence effectively? Are they drawing valid conclusions? A teacher needs to be able to evaluate an essay holistically in order to give a fair grade.

In order to properly evaluate an essay, teachers need to be able to think critically about the writing. Only then can they provide an accurate assessment of the work.

6. Active Reading

Active reading is a skill that requires the reader to be engaged with the text in order to fully understand it. This means not only being able to read the words on the page, but also being able to interpret the meaning behind them.

In order to do this, active readers need to have good critical thinking skills.

They need to be able to ask questions about the text and look for evidence to support their answers. Additionally, active readers need to be able to make connections between the text and their own experiences.

Active reading leads to better comprehension and retention of information.

7. Deciding Whether or Not to Believe Something

When trying to determine whether or not to believe something, you’re engaging in critical thinking.

For example, you might need to consider the source of the information. If the information comes from a reliable source, such as a reputable news organization or a trusted friend, then it is more likely to be accurate.

However, if the source is less reliable, such as an anonymous website or a person with a known bias, then the information should be viewed with more skepticism.

In addition, it is important to consider the evidence that is being presented. If the evidence is well-supported and logically presented, then it is more likely to be true. However, if the evidence is weak or relies on fallacious reasoning, then the claim is less likely to be true.

8. Determining the Best Solution to a Situation

Determining the best solution to a problem generally requires you to critique the different options. There are often many different factors to consider, and it can be difficult to know where to start.

However, there are some general guidelines that can help to make the process a little easier.

For example, if you have a few possible solutions to the problem, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each one. Consider both the short-term and long-term effects of each option before making a decision.

Furthermore, it is important to be aware of your own biases. Be sure to consider all of the options objectively, without letting your personal preferences get in the way.

9. Giving Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is feedback that you give to someone part-way through a learning experience. To do this, you need to think critically.

For example, one thing you need to do is see where the student’s strengths and weaknesses like. Perhaps the student is doing extremely well at a task, so your feedback might be that they should try to extend themselves by adding more complexity to the task.

Or, perhaps the student is struggling, so you suggest to them that they approach the learning experience from a different angle.

10. Giving Summative Feedback

Summative feedback occurs at the end of a learning scenario. For example, the written feedback at the end of an essay or on a report card is summative.

When providing summative feedback, it is important to take a step back and consider the situation from multiple perspectives. What are areas for improvement and where exactly might the student have missed some key points? How could the student have done better?

Asking yourself these questions is all part of the process of giving feedback, and they can all be considered examples of critical thinking. You’re literally critiquing the student’s work and identifying opportunities for improvement.

11. Evaluating Evidence

When evaluating evidence, critical thinkers take a step back and look at the bigger picture. They consider all of the available information and weigh it up. They look at logical flaws, the reliability of the evidence, and its validity.

This process allows them to arrive at a conclusion that is based on sound reasoning, rather than emotion or personal bias.

For example, when a social scientist looks at the evidence from his study, he needs to evaluate whether the data was corrupted and ensure the methodology was sound in order to determine if the evidence is valuable or not.

12. Media Literacy

Media literacy seems to be in short supply these days. Too many people take information off the internet or television and just assume it is true.

A person with media literacy, however, will not just trust what they see and read. Instead, they look at the data and weigh up the evidence. They will see if there was a sound study to back up claims. They will see if there is bias in the media source and whether it’s just following an ideological line.

Furthermore, they will make sure they seek out trustworthy media sources. These are not just media sources you like or that confirm your own point of view. They need to be sources that do their own research, find solid data, and don’t pursue one blind agenda.

13. Asking your Own Questions

Asking your own questions is an important part of critical thinking. When you ask questions, you are forcing yourself to think more deeply about the information you are considering.

Asking questions also allows you to gather more information from others who may have different perspectives.

This helps you to better understand the issue and to come up with your own conclusions.

So, often at schools, we give students a list of questions to ask about something in order to dig deeper into it. For example, in a book review lesson, the teacher might give a list of questions to ask about the book’s characters and plot.

14. Conducting Rigorous Research

Research is a process of inquiry that encompasses the gathering of data, interpretation of findings, and communication of results. The researcher needs to engage in critical thinking throughout the process, but most importantly, when designing their methodology.

Research can be done through a variety of methods, such as experiments, surveys, interviews, and observations. Each method has strengths and weaknesses.

Once the data has been collected, it must be analyzed and interpreted. This is often done through statistical methods or qualitative analysis.

Research is an essential tool for discovering new knowledge and for solving problems, but researchers need to think critically about how valid and reliable their data truly is.

15. Examining your own Beliefs and Prejudices

It’s important to examine your own beliefs and prejudices in order to ensure that they are fair and accurate. People who don’t examine their own beliefs have not truly critically examined their lives.

One way to do this is to take the time to consider why you believe what you do. What experiences have you had that have led you to this belief? Are there other ways to interpret these experiences? It’s also important to be aware of the potential for confirmation bias , which is when we seek out information that confirms our existing beliefs, while ignoring information that contradicts them.

This can lead us to hold onto inaccurate or unfair beliefs even when presented with evidence to the contrary.

To avoid this, it’s important to seek out diverse perspectives, and to be open-minded when considering new information. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your beliefs are fair and accurate.

16. Looking at a Situation from Multiple Perspectives

One of the most important critical thinking skills that you can learn in life is how to look at a situation from multiple perspectives.

Being able to see things from different angles can help you to understand complex issues, spot potential problems, and find creative solutions. It can also help you to build better relationships, as you will be able to see where others are coming from and find common ground.

There are a few simple techniques that you can use to develop this skill.

First, try to imagine how someone else would feel in the same situation.

Second, put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their point of view.

Finally, ask yourself what other factors may be influencing their perspective. By taking the time to view things from multiple angles, you will be better prepared to deal with whatever life throws your way.

17. Considering Implications before Taking Action

When faced with a difficult decision, it is important to consider the implications of each possible action before settling on a course of action.

This is because the consequences of our actions can be far-reaching and often unforeseen.

For example, a seemingly small decision like whether to attend a party or not might have much larger implications. If we decide to go to the party, we might miss an important deadline at work.

However, if we stay home, we might miss out on an opportunity to meet new people and make valuable connections.

In either case, our choice can have a significant impact on our lives.

Fortunately, critical thinking can help people to make well-informed decisions that could have a positive impact on their lives.

For example, you might have to weight up the pros and cons of attending the party and identify potential downsides, like whether you might be in a car with an impaired driver, and whether the party is really worth losing your job.

Having weighed up the potential outcomes, you can make a more rational and informed decision.

18. Reflective Practice

Reflecting on your actions is an important part of critical thinking. When you take the time to reflect, you are able to step back and examine your choices and their consequences more objectively.

This allows you to learn from your mistakes and make better decisions in the future.

In order to reflect effectively, it is important to be honest with yourself and open to learning new things. You must also be willing to question your own beliefs and assumptions. By taking these steps, you can develop the critical thinking skills that are essential for making sound decisions next time.

This will also, fortunately, help you to constantly improve upon yourself.

19. Problem-Solving

Problem-solving requires the ability to think critically in order to accurately assess a situation and determine the best course of action.

This means being able to identify the root cause of a problem , as well as any potential obstacles that may stand in the way of a solution. It also involves breaking down a problem into smaller, more manageable pieces in order to more easily find a workable solution.

In addition, critical thinking skills also require the ability to think creatively in order to come up with original solutions to these problems.

Go Deeper: Problem-Solving Examples

20. Brainstorming New Solutions

When brainstorming new solutions , critical thinking skills are essential in order to generate fresh ideas and identify potential issues.

For example, the ability to identify the problems with the last solution you tried is important in order to come up with better solutions this time. Similarly, analytical thinking is necessary in order to evaluate the feasibility of each idea. Furthermore, it is also necessary to consider different perspectives and adapt to changing circumstances.

By utilizing all of these critical thinking skills, it will be possible to develop innovative solutions that are both practical and effective.

21. Reserving Judgment

A key part of critical thinking is reserving judgment. This means that we should not rush to conclusions, but instead take the time to consider all the evidence before making up our minds.

By reserving judgment, we can avoid making premature decisions that we might later regret. We can also avoid falling victim to confirmation bias, which is the tendency to only pay attention to information that supports our existing beliefs.

Instead, by keeping an open mind and considering all the evidence, we can make better decisions and reach more accurate conclusions.

22. Identifying Deceit

Critical thinking is an important skill to have in any situation, but it is especially important when trying to identify deceit.

There are a few key things to look for when using critical thinking to identify deceit.

First, pay attention to the person’s body language. Second, listen closely to what the person is saying and look for any inconsistencies. Finally, try to get a sense of the person’s motive – why would they want to deceive you?

Each of these questions helps you to not just take things at their face value. Instead, you’re critiquing the situation and coming to a conclusion using all of your intellect and senses, rather than just believing what you’re told.

23. Being Open-Minded to New Evidence that Contradicts your Beliefs

People with critical thinking skills are more open-minded because they are willing to consider different points of view and evidence.

They also realize that their own beliefs may be wrong and are willing to change their minds if new information is presented.

Similarly, people who are not critical thinkers tend to be close-minded because they fail to critique themselves and challenge their own mindset. This can lead to conflicts, as closed-minded people are not willing to budge on their beliefs even when presented with contradictory evidence.

Critical thinkers, on the other hand, are able to have more productive conversations as they are willing to listen to others and consider different viewpoints. Ultimately, being open-minded and willing to change one’s mind is a sign of intelligence and maturity.

24. Accounting for Bias

We all have biases, based on our individual experiences, perspectives, and beliefs. These can lead us to see the world in a certain way and to interpret information in a way that supports our existing views.

However, if we want to truly understand an issue, it is important to try to put aside our personal biases and look at the evidence objectively.

This is where critical thinking skills come in.

By using critical thinking, we can examine the evidence dispassionately and assess different arguments without letting our own prejudices get in the way. Start by looking at weaknesses and logical flaws in your own thinking.

Play the devil’s advocate.

In this way, you can start to get a more accurate picture of an issue and make more informed decisions.

25. Basing your Beliefs on Logic and Reasoning

In order to lead a successful and fulfilling life, it is important to base your beliefs on logic and reasoning.

This does not mean that you should never believe in something without evidence, but it does mean that you should be thoughtful and intentional about the things that you choose to believe.

One way to ensure that your beliefs are based on logic and reasoning is to seek out reliable sources of information. Another method is to use thought games to follow all your thoughts to their logical conclusions.

By basing your beliefs on logic and reasoning, you will be more likely to make sound decisions, and less likely to be swayed by emotions or misinformation.

Critical thinking is an important skill for anyone who wants to be successful in the modern world. It allows us to evaluate information and make reasoned decisions, rather than simply accepting things at face value. 

Thus, employers often want to employ people with strong critical thinking skills. These employees will be able to solve problems by themselves and identify ways to improve the workplace. They will be able to push back against bad decisions and use their own minds to make good decisions.

Furthermore, critical thinking skills are important for students. This is because they need to be able to evaluate information and think through problems with a critical mindset in order to learn and improve.


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 50 Durable Goods Examples
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  • Critical Thinking Questions
  • Introduction
  • 1.1 What Is Psychology?
  • 1.2 History of Psychology
  • 1.3 Contemporary Psychology
  • 1.4 Careers in Psychology
  • Review Questions
  • Personal Application Questions
  • 2.1 Why Is Research Important?
  • 2.2 Approaches to Research
  • 2.3 Analyzing Findings
  • 3.1 Human Genetics
  • 3.2 Cells of the Nervous System
  • 3.3 Parts of the Nervous System
  • 3.4 The Brain and Spinal Cord
  • 3.5 The Endocrine System
  • 4.1 What Is Consciousness?
  • 4.2 Sleep and Why We Sleep
  • 4.3 Stages of Sleep
  • 4.4 Sleep Problems and Disorders
  • 4.5 Substance Use and Abuse
  • 4.6 Other States of Consciousness
  • 5.1 Sensation versus Perception
  • 5.2 Waves and Wavelengths
  • 5.4 Hearing
  • 5.5 The Other Senses
  • 5.6 Gestalt Principles of Perception
  • 6.1 What Is Learning?
  • 6.2 Classical Conditioning
  • 6.3 Operant Conditioning
  • 6.4 Observational Learning (Modeling)
  • 7.1 What Is Cognition?
  • 7.2 Language
  • 7.3 Problem Solving
  • 7.4 What Are Intelligence and Creativity?
  • 7.5 Measures of Intelligence
  • 7.6 The Source of Intelligence
  • 8.1 How Memory Functions
  • 8.2 Parts of the Brain Involved with Memory
  • 8.3 Problems with Memory
  • 8.4 Ways to Enhance Memory
  • 9.1 What Is Lifespan Development?
  • 9.2 Lifespan Theories
  • 9.3 Stages of Development
  • 9.4 Death and Dying
  • 10.1 Motivation
  • 10.2 Hunger and Eating
  • 10.3 Sexual Behavior
  • 10.4 Emotion
  • 11.1 What Is Personality?
  • 11.2 Freud and the Psychodynamic Perspective
  • 11.3 Neo-Freudians: Adler, Erikson, Jung, and Horney
  • 11.4 Learning Approaches
  • 11.5 Humanistic Approaches
  • 11.6 Biological Approaches
  • 11.7 Trait Theorists
  • 11.8 Cultural Understandings of Personality
  • 11.9 Personality Assessment
  • 12.1 What Is Social Psychology?
  • 12.2 Self-presentation
  • 12.3 Attitudes and Persuasion
  • 12.4 Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
  • 12.5 Prejudice and Discrimination
  • 12.6 Aggression
  • 12.7 Prosocial Behavior
  • 13.1 What Is Industrial and Organizational Psychology?
  • 13.2 Industrial Psychology: Selecting and Evaluating Employees
  • 13.3 Organizational Psychology: The Social Dimension of Work
  • 13.4 Human Factors Psychology and Workplace Design
  • 14.1 What Is Stress?
  • 14.2 Stressors
  • 14.3 Stress and Illness
  • 14.4 Regulation of Stress
  • 14.5 The Pursuit of Happiness
  • 15.1 What Are Psychological Disorders?
  • 15.2 Diagnosing and Classifying Psychological Disorders
  • 15.3 Perspectives on Psychological Disorders
  • 15.4 Anxiety Disorders
  • 15.5 Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
  • 15.6 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • 15.7 Mood Disorders
  • 15.8 Schizophrenia
  • 15.9 Dissociative Disorders
  • 15.10 Personality Disorders
  • 15.11 Disorders in Childhood
  • 16.1 Mental Health Treatment: Past and Present
  • 16.2 Types of Treatment
  • 16.3 Treatment Modalities
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Provide an example (other than the one described earlier) of a situation or event that could be appraised as either threatening or challenging.

Provide an example of a stressful situation that may cause a person to become seriously ill. How would Selye’s general adaptation syndrome explain this occurrence?

Review the items on the Social Readjustment Rating Scale. Select one of the items and discuss how it might bring about distress and eustress.

Job burnout tends to be high in people who work in human service jobs. Considering the three dimensions of job burnout, explain how various job aspects unique to being a police officer might lead to job burnout in that line of work.

Discuss the concept of Type A behavior pattern, its history, and what we now know concerning its role in heart disease.

Consider the study in which volunteers were given nasal drops containing the cold virus to examine the relationship between stress and immune function (Cohen et al., 1998). How might this finding explain how people seem to become sick during stressful times in their lives (e.g., final exam week)?

Although problem-focused coping seems to be a more effective strategy when dealing with stressors, do you think there are any kinds of stressful situations in which emotion-focused coping might be a better strategy?

Describe how social support can affect health both directly and indirectly.

In considering the three dimensions of happiness discussed in this section (the pleasant life, the good life, and the meaningful life), what are some steps you could take to improve your personal level of happiness?

The day before the drawing of a $300 million Powerball lottery, you notice that a line of people waiting to buy their Powerball tickets is stretched outside the door of a nearby convenience store. Based on what you’ve learned, provide some perspective on why these people are doing this, and what would likely happen if one of these individuals happened to pick the right numbers.

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examples of critical thinking questions for students

85 Fun Critical Thinking Questions for Kids & Teens

students laughing as they answer critical thinking questions

Have you ever thought about using fun questions to practice critical thinking?

Students may need a little guidance to think their way through questions that lack straightforward answers.

But it is that process that is important!

How the Right Questions Encourage Critical Thinking

Every parent knows how natural it is for children to ask questions. 

It should be encouraged. After all, asking questions helps with critical thinking.

As they grow older, however, training them to answer questions can be equally beneficial.

Posing questions that encourage kids to analyze, compare, and evaluate information can help them develop their ability to think critically about tough topics in the future. 

Of course, critical thinking questions for kids need to be age-appropriate—even better if you can mix a little fun into it!

That’s what I hope to help you with today. I’ve organized the questions below into three different ages groups:

  • Upper elementary
  • Middle school
  • High school 

20 Questions: Exercises in Critical Thinking

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Introduce critical thinking gently & easily with thought-provoking exercises.

Upper Elementary

Students in upper elementary grades can be reluctant to put themselves out there, especially with answers that seem weird. 

In some cases, such hesitancy is actually fear of differing from their peers (and a barrier to critical thinking ). 

But that’s exactly why it’s important to practice answering ambiguous questions. 

We want our children to stand firm for their beliefs—not cave to peer pressure. 

Additionally, students may feel uneasy about answering serious questions, uncertain of tackling “big” problems. 

However, with careful use of creative questions for kids, it’s possible to engage even the most reluctant children in this age group. 

The idea is to simply get them interested in the conversation and questions asked.

If you have an especially reserved student, try starting with the funny critical thinking questions. 

Humor is a natural icebreaker that can make critical thinking questions more lighthearted and enjoyable. 

Of course, most younger kids just like to be silly, so playing upon that can keep them active and engaged.

With that said, here are some great questions to get you started:

1. Someone gives you a penguin. You can’t sell it or give it away. What do you do with it?

2. What would it be like if people could fly?

3. If animals could talk, what question would you ask? 

4. If you were ice cream, what kind would you be and why?

5. Do you want to travel back in time? If yes, how far back would you go? If no, why not?

6. What could you invent that would help your family? 

7. If you could stay up all night, what would you do?

8. What does the man on the moon do during the day?

9. What makes something weird or normal? 

10. Can you describe the tastes “salty” and “sweet” without using those words?

11. What does it feel like to ride a rollercoaster?

12. What makes a joke funny?

13. What two items would you take if you knew you would be stranded on an island and why?

14. Do you have a favorite way of laughing?

15. What noise makes you cringe and cover your ears? Why?

16. If you could be the parent for the day, what would you do?

17. If you could jump into your favorite movie and change the outcome, which one would you pick and why?

18. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

19. What makes a day “perfect”?

20. If you owned a store, what kind of products would you sell?

21. If your parents were your age, would you be friends with them?

22. Would you still like your favorite food if it tasted the same as always, but now had an awful smell?

23. What would you do if you forgot to put your shoes on before leaving home?

24. Who would you be if you were a cartoon character?

25. How many hot dogs do you think you could eat in one sitting?

26. If you could breathe under water, what would you explore?

27. At what age do you think you stop being a kid?

28. If you had springs in your legs, what would you be able to do?

29. Can you describe the color blue to someone if they’re blind?

Middle School

At this point, students start to acquire more complex skills and are able to form their own conclusions based on the information they’re given. 

However, we can’t expect deep philosophical debates with 12 and 13 year olds. 

That said, as parent-teachers, we can certainly begin using more challenging questions to help them examine and rationalize their thought processes. 

Browse the fun critical thinking questions below for students in this age range. 

You might be surprised to see how receptive middle school kids can be to such thought-provoking (yet still fun) questions .

30. What would happen if it really did rain cats and dogs?

31. What does it mean to be lucky?

32. If you woke up in the middle of a dream, where would you be?

33. Is it ever okay to lie? Why or why not?

34. If you were solely responsible for creating laws, what one law would you make?

35. What makes a person a good friend?

36. What do you think is the most important skill you can take into adulthood?

37. If you had to give up lunch or dinner, which would you choose? Why?

38. How much money would you need to be considered rich?

39. If you knew you wouldn’t get caught, would you cheat on a test?

40. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?

41. What is your greatest strength? How is that an asset?

42. If you had an opportunity to visit the International Space Station, would you do it?

43. Is it better to keep the peace or speak your mind?

44. Imagine yourself as your favorite animal. How would you spend your day?

45. Would you be friends with someone who didn’t have the same values as you?

46. How much screen time do you think is too much?

47. Can you describe your favorite color without naming it?

48. If you suddenly became blind, would you see things differently?

49. Would you ever go skydiving?

50. Describe the time you were the happiest in your life. Why did this make you happy?

51. If you had a million dollars, what would you do?

52. If you had to move to a new city, would you change how you present yourself to others?

53. What do you need to do in order to be famous?

54. If you could rewrite the ending of your favorite book or movie, what changes would you make?

55. How would you tackle a huge goal?

56. How would you sell ice to an eskimo in Alaska successfully?

57. What makes you unique?

High School

Critical thinking takes on an entirely different role once students reach high school. 

At this age, they have a greater sense of right and wrong (and what makes things so) as well as a better understanding of the world’s challenges.

Guiding teens to delve deeper and contemplate such things is an important part of developing their reasoning and critical thinking skills. 

examples of critical thinking questions for students

Whether it’s fun questions about hypothetical superpowers or tough critical thinking questions about life, older teens typically have what it takes to think their way to a logical conclusion . 

Of course, use your discernment as you choose discussion topics, but here are some questions to help get you started:

58. How can you avoid [common problem] in the future?

59. Do you think it’s okay to take a life in order to save 5, 10, 20 or more people?

60. If you could go back and give your younger self advice, what would it be?

61. Is it better to give or receive a gift?

62. How important is it to be financially secure? Why?

63. If it was up to you, what one rule would you change in your family?

64. What would you do if a group of friends wanted to do something that you thought was a bad idea?

65. How do you know that something is a fact rather than an opinion?

66. What would it take to get you to change your mind?

67. What’s the most important thing in your life?

68. If money were of no concern, what job would you choose and why?

69. How do you know if you’re happy?

70. Do you think euthanasia is moral?

71. What is something you can do today that you weren’t able to do a year ago?

72. Is social media a good thing or not?

73. Is it right to keep animals in a zoo?

74. How does your attitude affect your abilities?

75. What would you do if you found out a friend was doing something dangerous?

76. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Why?

77. What will life on Earth look like in 50 years?

78. Which is more important, ending world hunger or global warming?

79. Is it a good idea to lower the voting age to 16? Why or why not?

80. If the electrical power went out today, how would you cook if using wood wasn’t an option?

81. If you could magically transport yourself to any other place, where would that be and why?

82. When should teenagers be able to stay out all night?

83. Does the number zero actually exist?

84. What defines a generous person?

85. Does an influential person influence everyone?

Feel free to print out these fun critical thinking questions and incorporate them into your homeschool week!

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47 Critical Thinking Questions for High School Students

47 Critical Thinking Questions for High School Students

Critical thinking is defined as analyzing and thinking objectively about an issue to form a judgment. Critical thinking skills are important for high school students because they encourage decision-making based on logic and reason, which will serve them well in adulthood. 

In fact, it has been proven that having critical thinking skills leads to success in interpersonal, financial, and business endeavors and serves to protect against negative outcomes. 

Critical thinking questions are those that encourage the development of the following skills:

  • Problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Open-mindedness

Let’s review some of the best questions that encourage critical thinking in high school students .

If you could make your own country, what would it look like? What rules would your citizens follow?

If you could go back in time two years and give your younger self advice, what advice would you give?

If you found out you only had 24 hours left to live, what would you decide to do with your last day on earth?

If you were offered the opportunity to get on a spaceship bound for a distant planet, and you would be one of the first colonizers, would you do it?

If a train was heading down a track without brakes and you had the switch that would turn it to either one of two tracks, and there was a baby on one track and an old woman on the other, who would you choose to let live? Why?

If everyone in the world stopped using social media, would it be a good thing or a bad thing? Defend your answer.

If your best friend was doing something dangerous that could kill them or put them in jail, would you tell someone even if it meant never speaking to them again?

Should the voting age be lowered to 16? Why or why not?

Should euthanasia be legal? Why or why not?

Question 10

Is it better to take one life in order to save 5 lives? What about 10? 20?

Question 11

If you had the power to solve one major problem on earth, what problem would you solve?

Question 12

If you could transport yourself instantly anywhere in the world, what place would you choose?

Question 13

If you were stranded on a desert island, what item would you choose to bring with you, provided you would have an endless supply of food and water?

Question 14

Should the drinking age be lowered to 18? Why or why not?

Question 15

If you could spend one day with any person on earth, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Question 16

Is it more important to have a strong military or universal healthcare? Why or why not?

Question 17

What defines adulthood? When does adulthood begin?

Question 18

Which is more important – solving climate change or solving world hunger?

Question 19

Would you rather be blind or deaf? Why?

Question 20

How would you describe a tree without using the words green, branches, or leaves?

Question 21

If you could describe the color red to a blind person, how would you describe it? What about the color blue?

Question 22

If you had the ability to transform into any animal at any time you wanted, what animal would you choose and why?

Question 23

If you could live in any historical time period, which time period would you choose and why?

Question 24

Would you rather die by falling off a skyscraper or being buried in a landslide? Why?

Question 25

How does someone become a good person? Can a bad person change into a good person? How?

Question 26

Would you rather to never have to eat or never have to sleep? Why?

Question 27

Is it better to have 1 million dollars in the bank or donate 10 million dollars to charity? Why or why not?

Question 28

How would you describe an airplane to someone who had never seen or heard of one?

Question 29

Is it better to be ignored or gossiped about? Why?

Question 30

What makes humans more important than animals?

Question 31

Is murder every justifiable? Why or why not?

Question 32

Is the death penalty immoral? Why or not?

Question 33

What characteristics make a good leader?

Question 34

If ignorance ever an excuse for breaking the law? Why or why not?

Question 35

What is more important in life: love, health, or money?

Question 36

Is it better to be feared or loved? Why?

Question 37

If you had the chance to travel through time and change one historical event, what event would you change and why? How would you change it?

Question 38

If you suddenly had a life expectancy of 500 years, would you change the way you live your life? What about if your life expectancy dropped 10 years?

Question 39

Think about the birth order with you and your siblings, if you have any. Would you rather change your birth order or remain where you are?

Question 40

If you had five minutes to defend the human race against an alien civilization who were going to destroy humanity, what would you say?

Question 41

Would you want to live forever? Why or why not?

Question 42

Is it the responsibility of wealthy countries to help impoverished countries? Why or why not?

Question 43

If you could change one rule in your family, what rule would it be and why?

Question 44

Do someone’s actions impact their value as a person, such as serial killers?

Question 45

How do you define evil?

Question 46

Is it the government’s job to ban harmful substances like drugs or alcohol, or is it the citizens’ responsibility to look after their own health?

Question 47

Should people be required to take a test before having a baby? Why or why not?



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  • What Is Critical Thinking? | Definition & Examples

What Is Critical Thinking? | Definition & Examples

Published on May 30, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan . Revised on May 31, 2023.

Critical thinking is the ability to effectively analyze information and form a judgment .

To think critically, you must be aware of your own biases and assumptions when encountering information, and apply consistent standards when evaluating sources .

Critical thinking skills help you to:

  • Identify credible sources
  • Evaluate and respond to arguments
  • Assess alternative viewpoints
  • Test hypotheses against relevant criteria

Table of contents

Why is critical thinking important, critical thinking examples, how to think critically, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about critical thinking.

Critical thinking is important for making judgments about sources of information and forming your own arguments. It emphasizes a rational, objective, and self-aware approach that can help you to identify credible sources and strengthen your conclusions.

Critical thinking is important in all disciplines and throughout all stages of the research process . The types of evidence used in the sciences and in the humanities may differ, but critical thinking skills are relevant to both.

In academic writing , critical thinking can help you to determine whether a source:

  • Is free from research bias
  • Provides evidence to support its research findings
  • Considers alternative viewpoints

Outside of academia, critical thinking goes hand in hand with information literacy to help you form opinions rationally and engage independently and critically with popular media.

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examples of critical thinking questions for students

Critical thinking can help you to identify reliable sources of information that you can cite in your research paper . It can also guide your own research methods and inform your own arguments.

Outside of academia, critical thinking can help you to be aware of both your own and others’ biases and assumptions.

Academic examples

However, when you compare the findings of the study with other current research, you determine that the results seem improbable. You analyze the paper again, consulting the sources it cites.

You notice that the research was funded by the pharmaceutical company that created the treatment. Because of this, you view its results skeptically and determine that more independent research is necessary to confirm or refute them. Example: Poor critical thinking in an academic context You’re researching a paper on the impact wireless technology has had on developing countries that previously did not have large-scale communications infrastructure. You read an article that seems to confirm your hypothesis: the impact is mainly positive. Rather than evaluating the research methodology, you accept the findings uncritically.

Nonacademic examples

However, you decide to compare this review article with consumer reviews on a different site. You find that these reviews are not as positive. Some customers have had problems installing the alarm, and some have noted that it activates for no apparent reason.

You revisit the original review article. You notice that the words “sponsored content” appear in small print under the article title. Based on this, you conclude that the review is advertising and is therefore not an unbiased source. Example: Poor critical thinking in a nonacademic context You support a candidate in an upcoming election. You visit an online news site affiliated with their political party and read an article that criticizes their opponent. The article claims that the opponent is inexperienced in politics. You accept this without evidence, because it fits your preconceptions about the opponent.

There is no single way to think critically. How you engage with information will depend on the type of source you’re using and the information you need.

However, you can engage with sources in a systematic and critical way by asking certain questions when you encounter information. Like the CRAAP test , these questions focus on the currency , relevance , authority , accuracy , and purpose of a source of information.

When encountering information, ask:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert in their field?
  • What do they say? Is their argument clear? Can you summarize it?
  • When did they say this? Is the source current?
  • Where is the information published? Is it an academic article? Is it peer-reviewed ?
  • Why did the author publish it? What is their motivation?
  • How do they make their argument? Is it backed up by evidence? Does it rely on opinion, speculation, or appeals to emotion ? Do they address alternative arguments?

Critical thinking also involves being aware of your own biases, not only those of others. When you make an argument or draw your own conclusions, you can ask similar questions about your own writing:

  • Am I only considering evidence that supports my preconceptions?
  • Is my argument expressed clearly and backed up with credible sources?
  • Would I be convinced by this argument coming from someone else?

If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.

  • ChatGPT vs human editor
  • ChatGPT citations
  • Is ChatGPT trustworthy?
  • Using ChatGPT for your studies
  • What is ChatGPT?
  • Chicago style
  • Paraphrasing


  • Types of plagiarism
  • Self-plagiarism
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Academic integrity
  • Consequences of plagiarism
  • Common knowledge

Critical thinking refers to the ability to evaluate information and to be aware of biases or assumptions, including your own.

Like information literacy , it involves evaluating arguments, identifying and solving problems in an objective and systematic way, and clearly communicating your ideas.

Critical thinking skills include the ability to:

You can assess information and arguments critically by asking certain questions about the source. You can use the CRAAP test , focusing on the currency , relevance , authority , accuracy , and purpose of a source of information.

Ask questions such as:

  • Who is the author? Are they an expert?
  • How do they make their argument? Is it backed up by evidence?

A credible source should pass the CRAAP test  and follow these guidelines:

  • The information should be up to date and current.
  • The author and publication should be a trusted authority on the subject you are researching.
  • The sources the author cited should be easy to find, clear, and unbiased.
  • For a web source, the URL and layout should signify that it is trustworthy.

Information literacy refers to a broad range of skills, including the ability to find, evaluate, and use sources of information effectively.

Being information literate means that you:

  • Know how to find credible sources
  • Use relevant sources to inform your research
  • Understand what constitutes plagiarism
  • Know how to cite your sources correctly

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search, interpret, and recall information in a way that aligns with our pre-existing values, opinions, or beliefs. It refers to the ability to recollect information best when it amplifies what we already believe. Relatedly, we tend to forget information that contradicts our opinions.

Although selective recall is a component of confirmation bias, it should not be confused with recall bias.

On the other hand, recall bias refers to the differences in the ability between study participants to recall past events when self-reporting is used. This difference in accuracy or completeness of recollection is not related to beliefs or opinions. Rather, recall bias relates to other factors, such as the length of the recall period, age, and the characteristics of the disease under investigation.

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examples of critical thinking questions for students

20 Math Critical Thinking Questions to Ask in Class Tomorrow

examples of critical thinking questions for students

Caroline Chaput

I am the founder of Boldly Inspired Curriculum. I started this journey to make other teacher’s lives easier by creating engaging and relevant resources that you’ll want to use year after year!

examples of critical thinking questions for students

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give intentional and effective feedback for students with 10 critical thinking prompts for algebra 1

The level of apathy towards math is only increasing as each year passes and it’s up to us as teachers to make math class more meaningful . This list of math critical thinking questions will give you a quick starting point for getting your students to think deeper about any concept or problem. 

Since artificial intelligence has basically changed schooling as we once knew it, I’ve seen a lot of districts and teachers looking for ways to lean into AI rather than run from it.

The idea of memorizing formulas and regurgitating information for a test is becoming more obsolete. We can now teach our students how to use their resources to make educated decisions and solve more complex problems.

With that in mind, teachers have more opportunities to get their students thinking about the why rather than the how.

Looking for more about critical thinking skills? Check out these blog posts:

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critical thinking questions for any math class

What skills do we actually want to teach our students?

As professionals, we talk a lot about transferable skills that can be valuable in multiple jobs, such as leadership, event planning, or effective communication. The same can be said for high school students. 

It’s important to think about the skills that we want them to have before they are catapulted into the adult world. 

Do you want them to be able to collaborate and communicate effectively with their peers? Maybe you would prefer that they can articulate their thoughts in a way that makes sense to someone who knows nothing about the topic.

Whatever you decide are the most essential skills your students should learn, make sure to add them into your lesson objectives.

algebra 1 critical thinking questions. 10 topics. 190+ prompts. click to learn more

When should I ask these math critical thinking questions?

Critical thinking doesn’t have to be complex or fill an entire lesson. There are simple ways that you can start adding these types of questions into your lessons daily!

Start small

Add specific math critical thinking questions to your warm up or exit ticket routine. This is a great way to start or end your class because your students will be able to quickly show you what they understand. 

Asking deeper questions at the beginning of your class can end up leading to really great discussions and get your students talking about math.

examples of critical thinking questions for students

Add critical thinking questions to word problems

Word problems and real-life applications are the perfect place to add in critical thinking questions. Real-world applications offer a more choose-your-own-adventure style assignment where your students can expand on their thought processes. 

They also allow your students to get creative and think outside of the box. These problem-solving skills play a critical role in helping your students develop critical thinking abilities.

connect algebra concepts to geometry applications

Keep reading for math critical thinking questions that can be applied to any subject or topic!

When you want your students to defend their answers.

  • Explain the steps you took to solve this problem
  • How do you know that your answer is correct?
  • Draw a diagram to prove your solution.
  • Is there a different way to solve this problem besides the one you used?
  • How would you explain _______________ to a student in the grade below you?
  • Why does this strategy work?
  • Use evidence from the problem/data to defend your answer in complete sentences.

When you want your students to justify their opinions

  • What do you think will happen when ______?
  • Do you agree/disagree with _______?
  • What are the similarities and differences between ________ and __________?
  • What suggestions would you give to this student?
  • What is the most efficient way to solve this problem?
  • How did you decide on your first step for solving this problem?

examples of critical thinking questions for students

When you want your students to think outside of the box

  • How can ______________ be used in the real world?
  • What might be a common error that a student could make when solving this problem?
  • How is _____________ topic similar to _______________ (previous topic)?
  • What examples can you think of that would not work with this problem solving method?
  • What would happen if __________ changed?
  • Create your own problem that would give a solution of ______________.
  • What other math skills did you need to use to solve this problem?

Let’s Recap:

  • Rather than running from AI, help your students use it as a tool to expand their thinking.
  • Identify a few transferable skills that you want your students to learn and make a goal for how you can help them develop these skills.
  • Add critical thinking questions to your daily warm ups or exit tickets.
  • Ask your students to explain their thinking when solving a word problem.
  • Get a free sample of my Algebra 1 critical thinking questions ↓

10 free math critical thinking writing prompts for algebra 1 and algebra 2

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  • How it Works

Critical Thinking Test: Sample Questions with Explanations (2024)

Employers value and seek candidates who demonstrate advanced critical thinking skills. They often administer critical thinking tests as part of their hiring process. Critical thinking tests can be very difficult for those who don’t prepare. A great way to start practicing is by taking our critical thinking free practice test.

What Does The Critical Thinking Test Include?

The Critical Thinking Test assesses your capacity to think critically and form logical conclusions when given written information. Critical thinking tests are generally used in job recruitment processes, in the legal sector. These tests measure the analytical critical thinking abilities of a candidate.

Why Is Critical Thinking Useful?

Critical thinking is put into action in various stages of decision-making and problem-solving tasks:

  • Identify the problem
  • Choose suitable information to find the solution
  • Identify the assumptions that are implied and written in the text
  • Form hypotheses and choose the most suitable and credible answers
  • Form well-founded conclusions and determine the soundness of inferences

What is Watson Glaser Test and what Critical Thinking Skills it Measures?

The most common type of critical thinking test is the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (W-GCTA). Typically used by legal and financial organizations, as well as management businesses, a Watson Glaser test is created to assess candidates’ critical thinking skills.

The test consists of 10 questions to be answered in 10 minutes approx (although there is no timer on the test itself). Our test is slightly harder than the real thing, to make it sufficiently challenging practice.

You need to get 70% correct to pass the test. Don’t forget to first check out the test techniques section further down this page beforehand.

Questions          25

Pass percentage          70%.

The test is broken down into five central areas:

  • Assumptions
  • Interpretation

Critical Thinking Course

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The Five Critical Thinking Skills Explained

1. recognition of assumption.

You’ll be presented with a statement. The statement is then followed by several proposed assumptions. When answering, you must work out if an assumption was made or if an assumption was not made in the statement. An assumption is a proclamation that an individual takes for granted. This section of the tests measures your ability to withhold from forming assumptions about things that are not necessarily correct.

  • 1: Assumption Made
  • 2: Assumption Not Made

Although the passage does state that Charlie’s fundraising team is doing its best so that the charity event can meet its goal, nowhere did it state that their team is leading the event.

2. Evaluation of Arguments

You will be presented with an argument. You will then be asked to decide whether the argument is strong or weak. An argument is considered strong if it directly connects to the statement provided, and is believed to be significant.

No, participation awards should not be given in every competition because studies have shown that this would cause the participants to put in less effort because they will get a prize no matter what the outcome is.

  • 1: Strong Argument
  • 2: Weak Argument

This is a strong argument as it provides evidence as to why participation awards should not be given in every competition

3. Deductions

In deduction questions, you will need to form conclusions based solely on the information provided in the question and not based on your knowledge. You will be given a small passage of information and you will need to evaluate a list of deductions made based on that passage. If the conclusion cannot be formed for the information provided, then the conclusion does not follow. The answer must be entirely founded on the statements made and not on conclusions drawn from your knowledge.

In a surprise party for Donna, Edna arrived after Felix and Gary did. Kelly arrived before Felix and Gary did.

  • 1: Conclusion Follows
  • 2: Conclusion Does not Follow

For questions like this, jot down the clues to help you out. Use initials as a quick reference.

K | F&G | E

Looking at the simple diagram, “K”, which stands for “Kelly,” arrived before Edna “E” did. The answer is A.

4. Interpretation

In these questions, you are given a passage of information followed by a list of possible conclusions. You will need to interpret the information in the paragraph and determine whether or not each conclusion follows, based solely on the information given.

A number of students were given the following advice:

“The use of powerful words is a technique, which makes you a better writer. Your choice of words is very important in molding the way people interaction with the article. You should use powerful words to spice up your article. Power words should be used liberally to enhance the flavor of what you write! ”

In the fourth sentence, it is stated, “Power words should be used liberally to enhance the flavor of what you write!”

Thus, if you were to write an essay, using powerful words can give more flavor to it.

5. Inferences

An inference is a conclusion made from observed or supposed facts and details. It is information that is not apparent in the information provided but rather is extracted from it. In this section, you will be provided with a passage of information about a specific scene or event. A list of possible inferences will then be given, and you will need to decide if they are ‘true’, ‘false’, ‘possibly true’, ‘possibly false’, or whether it is not possible to say based on the information provided.

With the advancement of technology, the need for more infrastructure has never been higher. According to the plan of the current U.S. Administration, it aims to put a $1 trillion investment on improving infrastructure, a portion of which will include priority projects and technologies that can strengthen its economic competitiveness such as transportation, 5G wireless communication technology, rural broadband technologies, advanced manufacturing technologies, and even artificial intelligence.

It stated that it expects to work with Congress to develop a comprehensive infrastructure package, which is expected to have a budget of $200 billion for certain priorities.

  • 2: Probably True
  • 3: Not Enough Information
  • 4: Probably False

Although it was mentioned in the passage that the U.S. government is to allocate $200 billion on certain priorities, it did not specify if these certain priorities were for ‘transportation, 5G wireless communication technology, rural broadband technologies, advanced manufacturing technologies, and artificial intelligence’ or if the aforementioned priorities will have a different allocation.

What we can be sure of, however, is that at least a portion of the $1 trillion infrastructure budget will be used on the mentioned priorities regardless, meaning that there is a chance that $200 billion will be used on those aforementioned areas.

Improve Your Score with Prepterminal’s Critical Thinking Course

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Prepterminal’s preparatory critical thinking course features a structured study course along with critical thinking practice tests to help you improve your exam score. Our course includes video and text-based information presented in a clear and easy-to-understand manner so you can follow along at your own pace with ease.


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Center for Educators & Schools: Inspiring Students’ Philosophical Thinking: Or, Asking the Right Questions

This event will take place online only.

Register Here

Are numbers real? Can trees think?  What makes a great philosophical question?  In this hands-on, virtual workshop, The Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization (PLATO) will demonstrate how to foster critical thinking by asking students the right questions. It’s not always instinctive how to harness students’ curiosity and energy, but through a hands-on meeting with PLATO, you’ll understand how to connect with students by engaging their interests and critical thinking skills.  This workshop is open to teachers of all ages and disciplines but  space is limited to  accommodate   20 teachers on a first come, first served basis . Please note that this workshop will require being on video and microphones for a more interactive experience providing personal connections, active discussions, and collaborative activities. Eligible NYS teachers will receive 1 hour of CTLE credit.

examples of critical thinking questions for students

Jana Mohr Lone  is Executive Director of  Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization  (PLATO) and affiliate faculty in philosophy at the University of Washington. She is the author of many books and articles about young people’s philosophical thinking, including  Seen and Not Heard   (2021) and  The Philosophical Child   (2012). Jana has been leading philosophy sessions with students from preschool to graduate school for over 25 years.

examples of critical thinking questions for students

For more information about The New York Public Library’s Center for Educators and Schools you can visit us at  nypl.org/ces  or subscribe to our monthly newsletter  here ! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to [email protected]. To stay updated follow us on  Twitter ,  Instagram , or  Facebook . PUBLIC NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER VIRTUAL PROGRAM |  The virtual program will be streamed on Zoom. You must register with your email address in order to receive the link to participate. Please check your email shortly before the discussion to receive the link. This Program uses a third-party website link. By clicking on the third-party website link, you will leave NYPL’s website and enter a website not operated by NYPL. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of every third-party website or service that you visit or use, including those third parties with whom you interact with through our Library services. For more information about these third-party links, please see the section of NYPL's Privacy Policy describing "Third-Party Library Services Providers" at https://www.nypl.org/help/about-nypl/legal-notices/privacy-policy. During this Program, you will be using third-party platforms such as livestream.com/schomburgcenter, for the purpose of communication. This service may collect some personally identifying information about you, such as name, username, email address, & password. This service will treat the information it collects about you pursuant to its own privacy policy. AUDIO/VIDEO RECORDING |  Programs are photographed and recorded by the New York Public Library. Attending this event indicates your consent to being filmed/photographed and your consent to the use of your recorded image for any all purposes of the New York Public Library. PRESS |  Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to [email protected]. Please note that professional video recordings are prohibited without expressed consent.

  • Audience: Teachers, Early Childhood Educators, K-12 Educators, College/Graduate School Educators


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  3. 15 Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking

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    Questions to Provoke Critical Thinking Varying question stems can sustain engagement and promote critical thinking. The timing, sequence and clarity of questions you ask students can be as important as the type of question you ask. The table below is organized to help formulate questions provoking gradually higher levels of thinking.

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  7. Effective Critical-Thinking Questions to Use in Class

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