Home Class Tools 180 Unique Question of the Day Ideas To Promote Critical Thinking

180 Unique Question of the Day Ideas To Promote Critical Thinking

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Students get better at answering questions by, well, answering questions. Asking a question of the day, where each student has an opportunity to think about it and respond, builds a knowledge of how questions work. It also improves students’ language and communication skills as they create their answers and listen to what others are saying. Questions that are more introspective can also help students understand themselves better as they reflect on their day or experiences.

Below are 180 questions to use with students from kindergarten through high school to get them thinking and talking.

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How To Use Questions of the Day

By definition, you can use questions of the day any time. But it can be helpful to set up structures around them. For example, you could incorporate a question of the day during morning meeting. Or you could end the day with a question of the day that students respond to in the time between packing up and going home.

When you assign a question of the day, provide routine around it. Incorporate a question of the day into each morning meeting or daily warm-up. Give students time to think about the question and jot down some notes if they are going to discuss it. And for students who are able to write, give them time to write their response in a journal.

If a question of the day has few answers (yes or no, would you rather …), encourage students to expand on why they chose their answer. Is there a funny experience that makes them choose one thing over another? Or can they talk about the time they held a lightening bug or jumped off the diving board?

Question of the Day Ideas for Early Elementary Schoolers

Young students love to share and are eager to feed off each others’ answers. Use these questions to engage kindergartners through second graders in thinking about topics that might be top of mind or something they’ve never thought about before.

Experience Questions of the Day

  • Have you ever been to a farm?
  • Have you ever been on a road trip?
  • Have you ever been on an airplane?
Have you ever been on an airplane?- question of the day
  • Have you ever traveled by boat?
  • What is the most interesting vehicle you have ever traveled in?
  • What country are you most interested in visiting?
  • Do you like to swim?
  • Would you rather swim in a lake, the ocean, or a pool?
  • Have you jumped off a diving board?
  • Have you ever climbed a tree?
  • What games do you like to play with friends?
What games do you like to play with friends?
  • When it rains, do you go inside or play outside?
  • Have you ever caught a lightning bug?
  • Have you ever held a ladybug?
  • Have you ever been inside a fire truck?
  • What is your favorite ice cream?
  • What musical instrument would you like to play?

Imagination Questions of the Day

  • Would you live in a tree house?
  • If you found a pot of gold, what would you do with it?
  • Would you let Goldilocks come to your house?
  • Would you have a pig for a pet?
Would you have a pig for a pet?
  • What do you put on your ice cream?
  • Do you like sunny days or rainy days?
  • If you could have a wild animal for a pet, which wild animal would you choose?
  • What fairy-tale character would you like to meet?

Preference Questions of the Day

  • What is your favorite animal to see at the zoo?
  • What is your favorite sport to play?
  • What is your favorite Olympic sport to watch?
  • What’s your favorite flavor of chips?
  • What’s your favorite Popsicle flavor?
  • What do you like to watch on TV?
  • What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
What is your favorite ice cream flavor?- question of the day
  • What is your favorite time of day?
  • What is your favorite day of the week?

Reflection Questions of the Day

  • What are you very good at?
  • What makes your family special?
  • What is one rule at home that you would change if you could?
What is one rule at home that you would change if you could?
  • What is your best quality?
  • What makes you different from your friends?
  • What makes you unique in your family?
  • How does your family show you that they love you?
  • Think about a friend you have. What is special about that friend?
  • What makes you a good friend?

Question of the Day Ideas for Upper Elementary Schoolers

Third, fourth, and fifth graders are eager to share and are ready to really reflect and think through scenarios. For more personal questions, give students the option of whether or not they want to share.

Imagination Questions of the Day

  • If you were a shark, what kind of shark would you be?
  • Would you rather be a giraffe or have a giraffe for a pet?
  • Do you think you would like to be president of the United States?
  • When you are sad or mad, what makes you feel better?
  • Which fictional character are you most like?
Which fictional character are you most like?
  • If you invented a robot, what would it do?
  • If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?
  • If you could invent a new video game, what would it be about?
  • If you could fly, where would you go?
  • Would you rather sit in the back of the class or the front?
  • If you could paint your own room, what color would you paint it?
  • If you were principal for a day, what would you do?
  • If unicorns were real, would you want one for a pet?
  • If you could travel to any planet, which one would you choose?
If you could travel to any planet, which one would you choose?- question of the day
  • If you could open a store, what would you sell?
  • If you could start a club, what club would you start?
  • What is the best gift you have ever given someone?
  • What is a time you felt lucky?
  • If you were going to start a band, what genre of music would you play?

Preference Questions of the Day

  • What is your favorite kind of birthday cake?
  • What is a movie that you would recommend to everyone in your grade?
  • What is a book that everyone in elementary school should read?
What is a book that everyone in elementary school should read?
  • What is your favorite holiday?
  • Who is your favorite person in the world?
  • What is the best gift you have ever received?
  • Which do you like better, ice cream or cookies?
  • Do you like clowns? Why or why not?
  • What is your favorite type of weather?
  • Where would you like to go on vacation?
  • If you were going to take a long trip, would you rather travel by car or plane?
If you were going to take a long trip, would you rather travel by car or plane?
  • What sports do you play or what activities do you do after school?
  • If you were going to compete in the Olympics, which sport would you compete in?
  • Do you prefer to do sports or athletic activities by yourself (running, yoga) or with a team?
  • What is your favorite snack food?

Reflection Questions of the Day

  • What word would you use to describe yourself?
  • What skills are you particularly good at? What helped make you so good at these skills?
  • What chore do you actually enjoy doing?
  • What is your least favorite chore to do?
  • Which family member do you want to be like when you grow up?
Which family member do you want to be like when you grow up?
  • How do you show your family that you love them?
  • What makes you unique in your group of friends?
  • What makes your group of friends special?

Question of the Day Ideas for Middle Schoolers

Middler schoolers are full of opinions. Help them think through their reasoning by modeling how you think through your responses to questions of the day. Consider providing a journal that students can respond in, and let them indicate whether or not they want you to read it.

Preference Questions of the Day

  • What is a movie that everyone in middle school should watch?
  • What is a book that everyone in middle school should read?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
  • What is your favorite sport?
  • Of all the places you’ve visited, what is your favorite?
Of all the places you’ve visited, what is your favorite?- question of the day
  • What is your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant?
  • Would you rather watch a movie at home or in the theater?
  • What is your favorite board game or video game to play?

Imagination Questions of the Day

  • If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
  • If you could add one thing to the lunch menu at school, what would you add?
  • If you could learn a new instrument, which would you choose?
If you could learn a new instrument, which would you choose?
  • If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
  • If you could live on Mars, would you?
  • If you were going to open a business, what kind of business would it be?
  • If you could eat one snack for the rest of your life, which snack would you choose?
  • If you could give one gift to every child in the world, what would it be?
  • If you had a signature sandwich, what would it be made of? What would you name it?
  • If you had to throw out everything but one possession, what would you keep?
If you had to throw out everything but one possession, what would you keep?
  • If you were president of the United States, what kind of president would you be?
  • What mythical creature would you want for a pet?
  • What ecosystem would you like to explore?

Reflection Questions of the Day

  • What is the hardest thing about being a middle schooler?
  • What three words would you use to describe yourself?
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
  • What irritates you the most?
  • What makes someone a hero?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing humanity today?
  • How do you define success?
  • What is one thing that adults could learn from kids?
  • How does the weather affect your mood?
  • On your favorite vacation, where did you go? What did you do?
  • What sports do you play now? Do you think you will continue those in high school?
  • What do you think makes a good teammate?
What do you think makes a good teammate?- question of the day
  • What skill could you teach to others?
  • When you’ve had a bad day, how do you help yourself feel better?
  • What motivates you most? (Rewards, prestige, knowing things, power)
  • When do you think a person becomes an adult?
  • What makes your best friend special?
  • What family member do you admire the most?
  • What chores do you actually like to do?
What chores do you actually like to do?
  • What is most important to your family?
  • How do you show your family you appreciate them?

Big Picture Questions of the Day

  • What would you like to see changed in the world?
  • If you could invent a rule that everyone followed, what would the rule be?
  • How do you think life will be different when you are an adult?
How do you think life will be different when you are an adult?
  • What do you think the world will be like in 50 years?
  • If you had a time machine, would you travel to the past or the future?
  • Do you think students should have to take gym (or play a sport)? Why or why not?

Question of the Day Ideas for High Schoolers

High schoolers are coming into their own. They’re ready to think through questions and discuss and debate them with evidence and support, not just their opinion. Questions of the day in high school are a way to build in more critical thinking and to encourage students to think through their values and beliefs.

Preference Questions of the Day

  • What TV show could you binge-watch over and over?
  • What is a movie that every high schooler should watch?
  • What is a book that every high schooler should read?
  • What is one holiday tradition that you plan to keep doing as an adult?
What is one holiday tradition that you plan to keep doing as an adult?- question of the day
  • Where is your favorite place to sit in a class? Do you think this would change if it were a large lecture hall compared to a small discussion class?
  • If you got to plan a vacation, where would you go?
  • When you plan a vacation, do you prefer to have everything planned out or would you rather play it by ear?

Imagination Questions of the Day

  • What would you do with one extra hour each day?
  • If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?
  • If you could teach a class, what would you teach?
  • If you could change the ending to a book or movie, which ending would you change and why?
  • If you could meet someone from the past, who would you like to meet?
If you could meet someone from the past, who would you like to meet?
  • If you could go back in time, what period would you travel to?
  • If you were president of the United States, what policies would you focus on?
  • If you were stuck on a desert island, what three things would you want with you?
  • If you could travel back in time to five years ago, what would you tell your younger self?

Reflection Questions of the Day

  • What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
  • What is the hardest thing about being a high schooler?
  • What is the hardest thing about growing up?
  • What is the best advice someone has given you?
  • What has your most significant accomplishment been so far?
What has your most significant accomplishment been so far?
  • How would you describe your personality?
  • How do you handle it when you are confused or unsure about something?
  • What was the most important invention in human history and why?
  • In your life, what is one thing you would want to become an expert at and why?
  • What is the most valuable thing in your life and why?
What is the most valuable thing in your life and why?- question of the day
  • How important is the weather for you when you are planning where to live or where to move for college?
  • What sports or extracurriculars have you done in high school? What are your favorite memories from these activities?
  • What sports or activities do you want to keep doing in college or after high school?
  • What skills have you gotten really good at as a child/teen? What could you do with those skills after high school?
  • How do you help yourself recover from a setback or bad day?
How do you help yourself recover from a setback or bad day?
  • What values are most important to you?
  • What would you like to be famous for as an adult?
  • What does success look like for you?

Big Picture Questions of the Day

  • How can you change the world in your lifetime?
  • What is the most valuable quality in a leader?
  • Should everyone have to get a high school diploma? A college degree?
  • What should the United States require of its citizens?
What should the United States require of its citizens?- question of the day
  • Would you support every 18-year-old having to complete a year in the army? Why or why not?
  • Do you think the voting age should be moved from 18?

Get morning meeting questions.

Questions to End the Day

Sometimes you need a question to wrap up the day. Since every day is different, set a schedule for how to end each day.

  • What made you smile today?
  • Who was kind to you today? Who were you kind to?
  • What made you happy (or excited or proud) today?
  • What made you laugh today?
  • What are you thankful for today?
  • What was the best part of your day?
  • How did you challenge yourself today?
  • Are you ending the day more stressed or more relaxed than you started?

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