I often wonder how to encourage students to use higher order skills rather than just trying to guess the answer. I often wonder what techniques I can use to help them. The textbook has some higher order thinking questions but my students need to have a model on how to do answer them.

I've been working on them with question that may have more than one answer and the justification for their answer but I need more.

Higher order thinking skills are above simple memorization or rote. It requires them to take the memorized facts to a higher level such as inferring, connecting, manipulating or other such skill. Suggestions for increasing higher order thinking skills include:

1. Teach the strategies so they know them.

2. Make sure students understand the important features of one concept that distinguishes it from another.

3. Name the key concept and help students determine the type of concept it is. Is it concrete, abstract, verbal, nonverbal, or process.

4. Help poorly performing students learn to express themselves by working on verbalizing the steps involved.

5. Move from concrete to abstract and back so there is a understanding of both.

6. When teaching concepts include false features to help show what its not along with examples of what it is and what its not.

7. Always make sure students have mastered the basic concepts before moving on to the more sophisticated concepts.

8. Take time to connect concepts beginning with connecting the smaller ones to larger ones.

This two page pdf has some great questions geared to help develop higher order thinking. The questions fall into promoting problem solving, what to do if a student gets stuck, making connections among ideas and applications, encouraging reflections, checking student progress, making sense of mathematics, and encouraging prediction.

I especially like the questions under helping students when they get stuck. The questions are geared to have students think about the next step. The questions are such as "How did you tackle a similar problem?" or "Have you compared your work with others in the group?"

I plan to download these questions to use in class. I like the questions guide rather than give direct answers. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Have a good day.