Critical Thinking Activities for Kids

Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

Critical thinking is an essential skill for all learners. Applying Bloom's Taxonomy is a great way to develop activities that strengthen this skill. In this lesson, the taxonomy is applied to several activities that will encourage students to think critically.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking and Bloom's Taxonomy go hand in hand. Using the taxonomy to develop questions and activities that push young learners up into the higher levels of thinking can be a fun way to develop critical thinking skills. The following activities, intended for elementary students, have been designed to involve learners in critical thought and have been aligned with the different levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.

A Different Use

Bloom's Taxonomy: Application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation

Materials: a sock, a bag of random small items (i.e.: spoon, small picture frame, toothbrush, button, lego, plastic cup), writing paper, drawing paper, pencils, markers or colored pencils

  • Show the class a sock. Explain that this sock is made to be worn on a foot, but it can be used for other things. Draw a picture on the board (or document camera) of a sock transformed into a puppet. Then also draw a picture of a sock being used to store onions or apples in a pantry. Explain that in this activity students will be reimagining different items and finding new uses for them.
  • Put students into groups of 3 - 4.
  • Explain the activity to the class.
    • Each group will draw an item out of the bag.
    • Thinking about their item, each group will have to come up with at least two ways to use that item that goes beyond its ordinary use.
    • Groups will then write their ideas down and draw pictures to show the alternative uses for their item.
  • Have each group draw their item out of the bag and begin their work.
  • When complete, if time allows, have them return their items to the bag and draw again for a second round.
  • At the end of the activity, let each group share their ideas with the class.

30 Word Challenge

Bloom's Taxonomy: Application, analysis, synthesis

Materials: writing paper, pencils (or access to computer for writing)

  • Write a short list of thought provoking questions on the board. Use questions such as:
    • What would you do if you could turn invisible?
    • What would happen if animals could talk?
    • If you could have lunch with a famous person, who would it be and why?
    • If you could switch places with someone in your family for a day, who would it be and why?
    • What would you do if you woke up and found yourself living in the 1800s?
    • Describe what it would be like to be blind.
  • Next, give each student writing paper (or computer access).
  • Explain that each student is to choose one question and compose an answer.
  • The trick is that their answers must be exactly 30 words in length (no longer, no shorter).
  • Once complete, let students read their answers to the class.
  • Try a second question if time allows.

Create a Creature

Bloom's Taxonomy: Application, analysis, synthesis

Materials: a pile of random pieces of trash (boxes, toilet paper tubes, used-up pencils, discarded paper or construction paper, candy wrappers, etc.), glue, tape, scissors, writing paper, pencils

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