May 01, 2019
100 Critical Thinking Questions Categorized by Subject
Have you ever thought about what makes for stimulating critical thinking questions? To us, such questions inspire thinking beyond our assumptions and opinions. They take us deep into exploration, inquiry, and dreaming big. They're all about asking "Why" and "How" and "What if ..."
In critical thinking, we use questions for a number of reasons. They can reinforce viewpoints, provide discussion prompts, and help us see things from a new perspective. We use them to inflame the imagination and inspire the search for answers. Most of all, however, we use them to learn. We’ve got a hundred of them here to help you and your learners do just that.
The following 100 critical thinking questions are categorized under specific areas of study. Use them to harness and hone critical thinking skills within all your students. If you've got some ideas for others, go ahead and add your own to this list.
Critical Thinking Questions for SOCIAL STUDIES
These social studies questions will get your students thinking about systems of government, leadership, and what could change our quality of life.
- How does your own system of government compare to others, and which do you think is better and why?
- What should the role of any government be and what boundaries and limitations should it have?
- Considering your own values and needs, which medieval occupation would in your opinion have provided the best quality of life?
- If you were the leader of your country, what changes would you make to the current state of your nation, and how would you justify those changes?
- In your opinion, what is the most fundamentally urgent issue in our world, and why do you feel this way?
- What should be humanity’s fundamental overarching goal, and why?
- What single thing in your opinion causes the most harm to us as a society, and how is it avoidable?
- If you were running for president what would your top three priorities be and why?
- Why do we feel in our society that war is often the only way to resolve conflict?
- How do we distinguish between what should be rights and what should be privileges in a society, and how can this be fair for everyone?
- What would our world be like if the Industrial revolution had occurred 200 years earlier than it did?
- Can human nature ever be changed? If so, how should it be changed and why?
- How would our society transform if there was no law to govern us, and what would be the final result? How can you be certain of this?
- Do you believe technology has helped or harmed education? If something needs to change in this regard, how would you change it?
- If you could create only three laws for people to live by, what would they be and why?
- Should current and aspiring political leaders be mandatorily subject to intelligence or aptitude tests and mental health screening? Why or why not?
- Do you believe the world could exist without the concept of material wealth? How would it be different than it is now?
Critical Thinking Questions for ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS
Here are some questions for ELA that ask students to consider the importance of language and how we use it to break down the barriers of communication between individuals.
- What are the reasons that cultures and individuals create narratives of their experiences?
- What helps you personally distinguish between “good” and “bad” writing?
- How would you develop your own form of communication and teach it to others?
- How would you describe/explain ____________ to someone who had never heard of it before?
- Is having only one global language preferable to having several? Why or why not?
- In what ways would you improve your native language to make it easier for others to learn and understand?
- If you could get writing advice from one writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you ask them?
- Is there a form of communication you consider to be unnecessary? What is it and why don't you think we need it?
Critical Thinking Questions for THE ARTS
Deep critical thinking questions about the nature of art and its importance to society and how we use it to define ourselves reside here.
- What is “art” and why do individual cultures place so much value on its continuing evolution?
- What kinds of responsibilities does an artist have to an audience or a consumer?
- Do audiences and consumers have any responsibility towards artists? If so, what are they?
- What is the line that divides art and “non-art?”
- Is creativity something that can be measured? Should it be?
- Do you have a favourite example of what art means to you? If so, why is it your favourite?
- Why do societies need art and creativity to survive, or do they?
- How would our world be different without art of any kind?
- Is marketing an art form in the digital age? Why or why not?
- Does art ever cause harm to a society, and if so, how?
- Do you believe your own contributions to art make the world a better place? If so, how?
- What, in your opinion, is the ultimate point of art and why do you feel this way?
- How are we as a society and as individuals defined by our art?
- If you had to communicate an important message to the world through art, what would your message be and what medium would you choose? Why?
Critical Thinking Questions for MATHEMATICS
Mathematics is known as a subject that naturally involves a good deal of critical thinking. Here are some great questions for this fascinating subject.
- How could we use mathematics to create a better world?
- How has mathematics already brought benefit to our society?
- When and how has mathematics played pivotal roles throughout our world’s history?
- Do you consider math a language we could use for communication? How could we use it in this manner?
- In what situations are mathematical patterns of critical importance in the real world?
- When is the “correct” answer not the best solution?
- How can number lines and diagrams be used to interpret solutions to real-word problems?
- How is mathematics used to quantify and compare situations, events and phenomena?
- How is the likelihood of an event determined and communicated?
- How do we determine the best strategy to use for tackling a specific mathematical problem?
Critical Thinking Questions for SCIENCE
This is another subject in which critical thinking is a regular necessity. These questions ask us to explore some of the facets of the nature of science, as well as how to solve certain problems.
- What possible anomalies could upset evolutionary theory?
- What would have happened to our society if atomic energy had never been harnessed as a weapon?
- What would the discovery of another civilized world mean for our current society? What opportunities would this present for both worlds?
- If someone asked you to measure how much the Earth weighed, how would you go about figuring it out?
- What would you genetically change about humans to make them a better species?
- Is technological progress inevitable so long as humans exist, or can it ever be stopped? Should it be stopped?
- How would humanity change if all humans’ life expectancy was significantly increased?
- Is it possible to engineer the human body to last forever? Why or why not?
- What would happen to the body if ___________ decided to begin functioning on “overdrive?”
- Can science and spirituality ever become a single discipline, and if so, how?
- Is there inherent order in nature or is it all chaos and chance? Why do you feel this way?
- How can we predict what life will be like 30 years from now?
- What do you think would be humanity’s reaction to the discovery of extraterrestrial life?
- What is the most beneficial approach to cleaning up our environment and why do you feel this way?
- How far should human beings go with technological augmentations to the human body? Why?
- Is it possible to learn “too much?” Why or why not?
- How can we be sure that the universe beyond our world is truly “infinite”?
- What is the one scientific breakthrough that would provide the biggest benefit to humanity? The biggest threat?
Critical Thinking Questions for ETHICS AND MORALITY
This is always an engaging subject to discuss with others. Use these questions to spark some lively debates and discussions.
- What is the difference between truth and fact?
- If you could choose one rule for the entire world to adhere to, what would it be and why?
- Is civilization and order necessary to survival? Why or why not?
- is there a person in your life you treat far differently from anyone else? If so, how do you treat them and why?
- If you could learn how a loved one was going to die, would you want to know? Why or why not?
- If someone had a very good reason for asking you to lie for them, would you do it? Why or why not?
- Do we have a moral obligation to help those less fortunate than we are? Why or why not?
- What do you believe should be the laws that govern social media? Why and how would you enforce these laws for the good of all?
- What harsh truths about life do you prefer to consciously ignore, and why?
- Should we consider colonizing the rest of the galaxy? Why or why not?
- If you witnessed someone commit a crime for a perfectly moral reason, would you punish them? If not, why not? If so, how?
- Why do some people respect power while other openly abuse it? If you had power, which kind of person would you be and why?
- Is it possible to live a normal life and never tell a lie? Why or why not?
- If someone tells an offensive joke, do you consider it your responsibility to speak up about it? Why or why not?
- Why is having values and beliefs important and how can we form them independently?
- Is humanity inherently “good” or inherently “evil?” Why do you feel this way?
- How do different cultures shape our definitions of good and evil?
- Why is it crucial to consider the effects of our words and actions on other people?
Critical Thinking Questions for HEALTH AND WELLNESS
The subject of health and wellness is crucial to us all. If you want your students to think deeply and wisely about it, these are solid questions to ask.
- Why is it necessary for long-term health and wellness to achieve balance in our lives, and how can we achieve it?
- How do we define “happiness” for ourselves and how important it is in our lives?
- What is the difference between “surviving” and “living”?
- If there were three things in your life you considered harmful and that you could give up, what would you give up and why?
- How does being healthy affect our relationships with others?
- Why is it important to be grateful and how can you practice gratitude every day as a habit?
- To what do you attribute the biggest successes and the biggest failures in your life?
- Do you believe things would get better for everyone if we all either focused more on what was going right or what was going wrong? Why do you feel this way?
- How do we make medical decisions for those who cannot make them for themselves?
- What is special about how you deal with personal conflicts and change, and how could this help someone else?
- When did something start out badly for you but, in the end, turned out to be great?
- In a culture where we are bombarded with other people trying to define us, how do we make decisions for ourselves?
- How can we support people who feel alone and are uncertain about themselves due to social and psychological factors?
- How can we ensure that conflicts lead to constructive change and a positive outcome for everyone involved?
- If you were to leave behind your own legacy for future generations, what would it would be and why?
Even More Critical Thinking Questions
We hope you enjoy using these subject-specific critical thinking questions. It goes along great with one of our most popular free resources, the Critical Thinking Cheatsheet, available below.
Whenever your students discover or talk about new information, encourage them to use these questions for sparking debate and the sharing of opinions and insights among each other. Together they can work at building critical thinking skills in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere. Now you've got all the tools you need for developing solid questioning skills with your learners.