70 Higher-Order Thinking Questions To Challenge Your Students (Free Printable)


Want to help your students make strong connections with subject material? Ensure you’re using all six levels of cognitive thinking. This means asking lower-order thinking questions as well as higher-order thinking questions. Learn more about them here, and find plenty of examples for each.

Plus get a printable sheet featuring all the higher-order and lower-order thinking questions featured below.

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Lower-Order Thinking Skills Questions

Higher-Order Thinking Skills Questions

What are lower-order and higher-order thinking questions?

What are lower-order and higher-order thinking questions?
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Bloom’s Taxonomy is a way of classifying cognitive thinking skills. The six main categories—remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, create—are broken into lower-order thinking skills (LOTS) and higher-order thinking skills (HOTS). LOTS includes remember, understand, and apply. HOTS covers analyze, evaluate, and create.

While both LOTS and HOTS have value, higher-order thinking questions urge students to develop deeper connections with information. They also encourage kids to think critically and develop problem-solving skills. That’s why teachers like to emphasize them in the classroom.

New to higher-order thinking? Learn all about it here. Then use these lower-order and higher-order thinking questions to inspire your students to examine subject material on a variety of levels.

Lower-Order Thinking Skills Questions

Higher Order Thinking Questions 1 1
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Remember (LOTS)

  • Who are the main characters?
  • When did the event take place?
  • What is the setting of the story?
What is the setting of the story?
  • Where would you find _________?
  • How do you __________?
  • What is __________?
  • How do you define _________?
  • How do you spell ________?
  • What are the characteristics of _______?
  • List the _________ in proper order.
  • Name all the ____________.
  • Describe the __________.
  • Who was involved in the event or situation?
Who was involved in the event or situation?
  • How many _________ are there?
  • What happened first? Next? Last?

Understand (LOTS)

  • Can you explain why ___________?
  • What is the difference between _________ and __________?
  • How would you rephrase __________?
  • What is the main idea?
  • Why did the character/person ____________?
Why did the character/person ____________?
  • What’s happening in this illustration?
  • Retell the story in your own words.
  • Describe an event from start to finish.
  • What is the climax of the story?
  • Who are the protagonists and antagonists?
Who are the protagonists and antagonists?
  • What does ___________ mean?
  • What is the relationship between __________ and ___________?
  • Provide more information about ____________.
  • Why does __________ equal ___________?
  • Explain why _________ causes __________.

Apply (LOTS)

  • How do you solve ___________?
  • What method can you use to __________?
  • What methods or approaches won’t work?
What methods or approaches won't work?
  • Provide examples of _____________.
  • How can you demonstrate your ability to __________.
  • How would you use ___________?
  • Use what you know to __________.
  • How many ways are there to solve this problem?
  • What can you learn from ___________?
  • How can you use ________ in daily life?
  • Provide facts to prove that __________.
  • Organize the information to show __________.
Organize the information to show __________.
  • How would this person/character react if ________?
  • Predict what would happen if __________.
  • How would you find out _________?

Higher-Order Thinking Skills Questions

Higher Order Thinking Questions 2 1
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Analyze (HOTS)

  • What facts does the author offer to support their opinion?
  • What are some problems with the author’s point of view?
  • How does the author use symbolism in this text?
  • What common features do these characters share?
  • How does the setting affect the characters and plot?
  • What was a character’s motivation for a specific action?
What was a character's motivation for a specific action?
  • Compare and contrast two main characters or points of view.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of _________.
  • How would you classify or sort ___________?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of _______?
  • How is _______ connected to __________?
  • What caused __________?
  • What are the effects of ___________?
  • How would you prioritize these facts or tasks?
  • How do you explain _______?
  • What patterns can you identify in the data, and what might they mean?
  • Which method of solving this equation is most efficient?
  • Using the information in a chart/graph, what conclusions can you draw?
  • What does the data show or fail to show?
  • What was a character’s motivation for a specific action?
  • What is the theme of _________?
  • Why do you think _______?
  • What is the purpose of _________?
  • What was the turning point?

Evaluate (HOTS)

  • Is _________ better or worse than _________?
  • What are the best parts of __________?
  • How will you know if __________ is successful?
  • Are the stated facts proven by evidence?
  • What are the potential drawbacks?
  • Was ______________ justified in their actions and choices?
  • How does historical context affect your view of the person’s actions?
  • Is the source reliable?
Is the source reliable?
  • What makes a point of view valid?
  • Are any perspectives or points of view missing?
  • Did the character/person make a good decision? Why or why not?
  • Which _______ is the best and why?
  • What biases can you identify in this text?
  • How effective are/were the laws or policies in achieving their goals?
  • What are the biases or assumptions in an argument?
  • What is the value of _________?
  • Is _________ morally or ethically acceptable?
  • Does __________ apply to all people equally?
  • How can you disprove __________?
  • Does __________ meet the specified criteria?
Does __________ meet the specified criteria?
  • What could be improved about _________?
  • Do you agree with ___________?
  • Does the conclusion include all pertinent data?
  • Does ________ really mean ___________?

Create (HOTS)

  • How can you verify ____________?
  • Design an experiment to __________.
  • Defend your opinion on ___________.
  • How can you solve this problem?
  • Create a new character for the story, then describe their background and impact.
  • How would you turn this story into a movie? What changes would you make to the plot and why?
  • Rewrite a story with a better ending.
Rewrite a story with a better ending.
  • How can you persuade someone to __________?
  • Make a plan to complete a task or project.
  • How would you improve __________?
  • What changes would you make to ___________ and why?
  • How would you teach someone to _________?
  • What would happen if _________?
  • What alternative can you suggest for _________?
  • Write a new policy to solve a societal problem.
  • How would you handle an emergency situation like ____________?
  • What solutions do you recommend?
  • How would you do things differently?
How would you do things differently?
  • What are the next steps?
  • How can you improve the efficiency of this process?
  • What factors would need to change in order for __________?
  • Invent a _________ to __________.
  • What is your theory about __________?

Get your free printable with higher-order and lower-order thinking skills questions

Higher Order Thinking Questions
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Just enter your email address on the form on this landing page to grab a copy of our printable sheet featuring all of the higher-order and lower-order thinking questions featured above. It’s perfect to keep on hand for use during lesson planning and instruction.

What are your favorite higher-order thinking questions? Come share in the We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, 100+ Critical Thinking Questions for Students To Ask About Anything.



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