62 Great Critical Thinking Questions

Use these during your next book discussion.

Critical Thinking Questions

We’re always looking for ways to get our kids to think more deeply. Critical thinking skills are really important. So, we’ve rounded up all of the best critical thinking questions to help you get your students to the next level. 

Critical Thinking Questions That Start With Who

  • Who caused harm?
  • Who was the most important character?
  • Who is responsible?
  • Who should have won?
  • Who would benefit?
  • Who would be affected by this?

Critical Thinking Questions That Start With What 

  • What would it be like if … ?
  • What could happen if … ?
  • What other outcomes might have happened?
  • What questions would you have asked?
  • What would you ask the author about … ?
  • What was the point of … ?
  • What should have happened instead?
  • What is that character’s motive? 
  • What else could have changed the whole story?
  • What can you conclude?
  • What would your position have been in that situation?
  • What would happen if … ?
  • What makes your position stronger?
  • What was the turning point?
  • What is the point of the question?
  • What did it mean when … ?
  • What is the other side of this argument?
  • What was the purpose of … ?
  • What does ______ mean?
  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • What does the evidence say?
  • What assumptions are you making?
  • What’s a better alternative?

Critical Thinking Questions That Start With Where

  • Where did the story change?
  • Where would you most often find this problem?
  • Where are there similar situations?
  • Where would you go to get answers to this problem?
  • Where can this be improved?
  • Where can you get more information?

Critical Thinking Questions That Start With When

  • When did the story change?
  • When is this (un)acceptable?
  • When does this become a problem? 
  • When will we be able to tell if it worked?
  • When is it time to stop?

Critical Thinking Questions That Start With Why

  • Why is this a problem?
  • Why did the character say … ?
  • Why did the author decide to … ?
  • Why did that happen? 
  • Why is this important?
  • Why do you think I (he, she, they) asked that question?

Critical Thinking Questions That Start With How

  • How would you solve … ?
  • How is this different from other situations?
  • How is this similar to … ?
  • How would you use … ?
  • How could the story have ended differently?
  • How does this work?
  • How could this be harmful?
  • How else could this have been handled?
  • How should they have responded?
  • How would you feel about … ?
  • How does this change the outcome?

Other Critical Thinking Questions

  • Can you give me an example?
  • Do you agree with … ?
  • Can you compare this with … ?
  • Can you defend the actions of … ?
  • Could this be interpreted differently?

Now that you’ve got a big, long list of critical thinking questions to ask your students, are you looking for more information on teaching critical thinking skills? Check out this article: 10 Tips for Teaching Kids to Be Awesome Critical Thinkers Plus, get advice from other teachers by joining our Facebook group: WeAreTeachers Helpline.

62 Great Critical Thinking Questions

Posted by Karen Nelson

Karen is a Senior Editor at WeAreTeachers. She's also a former elementary school teacher who loves teaching with technology.

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