Higher Level Questions for Math

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  • 0:03 What Are Higher-Level…
  • 0:46 Analyze, Create, Evaluate
  • 2:25 Quality Question…
  • 3:14 Open Versus Closed Questions
  • 4:13 Higher-Level Conversations
  • 4:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
An important part of teaching includes asking questions. Teachers need to push students to think deeply by asking high-level questions. In this lesson, learn what high-level questions are and how to apply them to teaching math.

What Are Higher-Level Questions?

The focus on education today has shifted from students being able to recall information to a deeper, more reflective type of thinking. Have you noticed how curriculum now asks questions on a higher level? High-level questions ask students to be metacognitive, or think about their thinking.

Compare high-level questions to low-level questions, such as those that simply require students to recall information. When memorizing math facts, students don't need to use much processing information. High-level questions require students to take what they know and apply it in different ways, such as analyzing, creating, and evaluating. Not familiar with these terms? Here's a brush up.

Analyze, Create, Evaluate

Planning for high-level thinking means developing lessons that push students to use taught information in new ways. Students must apply learned knowledge, which means you can tell whether or not they truly grasp a concept. Three high-level skills are top of the heap:


To analyze a math concept, students need to be able to understand the base concept and think about it differently.


For example, a student may be given two sets of data and asked to compare and contrast, as in the example here. A teacher can use the data to ask questions like, 'What soda characteristics seem to be important to students?'


Another high-level skill asks students to create. This broad term is used to describe any creation made to represent understanding of mathematical concepts, ranging from a diagram to a more expressive type of art project. In some classrooms, students draw pictures to show their understanding of a problem. Students might also create math games.


Finally, students applying high-level skills are often asked to evaluate. This doesn't mean they're given a test. In fact, the opposite is true. When using evaluative skills in math, students are showing their understanding by determining if a problem or answer makes sense.

Evaluative questions include:

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