Increasing Critical Thinking with Knowledge Cubes

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Knowledge cubes are 6-sided paper cubes with a question on each side that can be used multiple ways in the classroom to increase student engagement and critical thinking.

Traditionally, each side of the cube will have a question that addresses a different level of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation.

The cubes can be pre-made by the teacher and used to facilitate either whole group or small group discussion over any given topic. In this scenario the cubes can be passed or tossed around the group, and the student can choose a side of the cube to answer and then pass the cube to another student, until all sides have been discussed.

Cubes can also be created BY the students by having them answer the questions on the cube and then cutting, folding, and taping or gluing the cube themselves.

Either of these scenarios allows students to be more active and tactile, allowing teachers to better meet the needs of their kinesthetic learners (about 50% of middle school students).

Click here for a printable cube pattern to try yourself.

And here is a cheat sheet for some possible question stems for the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

Know
What is…
True or false…

Comprehend
Can you explain why…
Can you summarize…

Apply
Can you think of another time when…
What would change if…

Analyze
What is the problem with…
How is this similar to…

Synthesize
What might happen if…
If you changed… how would that effect…

Evaluate
How does… compare to…
Which is better? why?

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